Lately, as I’ve been writing more blog posts and trying to find others with psoriasis to connect with, I’ve been wondering if there was anyone who wanted to learn about psoriasis? I am always more than happy to provide my experiences on treatment, mental health, and my journey. But, I was beginning to feel like maybe I wasn’t answering the questions that those without psoriasis wanted to know. Luckily, Unwanted Life guided me, and gave me questions to answer to bring awareness to psoriasis + psoriatic arthritis! Thank you so much for this. 🙂
What’s the difference between having really bad dry skin problems and psoriasis?
The biggest difference is that psoriasis causes your immune system to weaken, whereas dry skin can just be caused from the soap you’re using, your environment, your diet, and stress levels. Dry skin may cause a little bit of flaking and minor pain. Dry skin is relatively the same across the board. With psoriasis, there are different types that all vary in levels of pain, treatment, and damage to the skin.
What are the different kinds of psoriasis and how can they affect you?
There are several different types of psoriasis! Just so I don’t share any incorrect information, here are the definitions as stated on The National Psoriasis Foundation website (psoriasis.org)!
- Guttate Psoriasis:
Guttate psoriasis appears as small, round spots called papules [PAP-yules] that are raised and sometimes scaly. Guttate lesions usually appear on the arms, legs and torso, with rare cases forming in the scalp, face and ears.
Guttate psoriasis often develops suddenly and may appear after an infection like strep throat. It is a good idea to consult with your health care specialist to be checked for strep throat if you have guttate psoriasis, as that infection can occur without any obvious symptoms.
- Inverse Psoriasis:
Inverse psoriasis (also known as intertriginous psoriasis) shows up as very red lesions in body folds. It may appear smooth and shiny. Many people have another type of psoriasis elsewhere on the body at the same time.
Inverse psoriasis is found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other skin folds on the body.It is particularly subject to irritation from rubbing and sweating because of its location in skin folds and tender areas. It usually lacks the scale associated with plaque psoriasis due to the moist environment. It is more common in overweight people and people with deep skin folds.
- Pustular Psoriasis
Pustular [PUHS-choo-lar] psoriasis is characterized by white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin. The pus consists of white blood cells. It is not an infection, nor is it contagious.
Pustular psoriasis is primarily seen in adults. It may be limited to certain areas of the body — for example, the hands and feet. Generalized pustular psoriasis also can cover most of the body. It tends to go in a cycle with reddening of the skin followed by pustules and scaling.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis
Erythrodermic [eh-REETH-ro-der-mik] psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that often affects most of the body surface. It may occur in association with von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis. It is a rare type of psoriasis, occurring once or more during the lifetime of 3 percent of people who have psoriasis. It generally appears on people who have unstable plaque psoriasis. This means the lesions are not clearly defined. Widespread, fiery redness and exfoliation of the skin characterize this form. Severe itching and pain often accompanies it.
What treatments are available for the different kinds of psoriasis?
Quite a few treatment options are available, such as injections, oral medications, topical creams, and even light therapy (phototherapy). I have only ever used topical creams and taken pain medication for my inverse + guttate psoriasis. Treatments like phototherapy or injections are incredibly expensive, and unfortunately, I am unable to afford them even with insurance. I know that both of these treatments have to be administered by a doctor, which require weekly or bi-weekly visits. There are phototherapy kits on Amazon to use as a home remedy, but I would recommend having a doctor administer the treatments in a medical setting.
Which moisturisers do you recommend for the dry skin psoriasis sufferers?
A few posts ago, I mentioned the wonders that the Curel Hydratherapy Wet Skin Moisturizer did for my skin (see how i saved my psoriatic skin). MG217 Medicated Multi-Symptom Coal Tar Ointment, MG217® Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Shampoo, and Psoriasin Deep Moisturizing Ointment . (MG217 is approved by The National Psoriasis Foundation! My Patient Navigator Emma sent me several samples from this brand!) Anything with coal tar in it is extremely effective in relieving psoriasis symptoms. I’ve had complete healing from lesions and “holes” left from guttate psoriasis. However, it is very potent in both color and smell. Coal tar will stain your clothing, bedding, and skin a greenish-yellow tint. It has spread across my clothing, leaving trails of yellow streaks on white clothing in particular. If you use any of these topical creams, be sure to wear dark clothing!
And would they work for people who just have really bad dry skin?
Possibly! Though, it may be too strong for those who have mild dry skin.
How has having psoriasis affected your mental wellbeing?
In my last post psoriasis confidence?: i’m still not comfortable with my body, I gave sort of an in-depth account of how psoriasis caused my self-confidence to plummet and even affected my perception of myself as a woman. It has mostly affected my mental state in negative ways, causing me to have a low-self esteem. I’m still on the journey to accepting my body, but on more days than not, it’s hard.
What has helped you with your mental health recovery with tackling your psoriasis?
Talking about it with people who will listen has been the most effective method to helping me recover mentally. Sometimes, even if people don’t listen, I still talk about it anyway, just so it doesn’t fester in my mind and cause a panic attack. I’ve also begun riding my bike to relieve stress and actually, this is good for when you have arthritis, because it keeps your joints moving. Yet, I’ve also found that spending time alone has provided positive and negative outcomes in healing. For example, sometimes I like to be alone where I can read and be under my heating blanket in the quiet. But other times, I need to be around people because I don’t feel safe with being alone. Overall, just talking about it and finding a community online has begun to help me.
Is psoriasis something you’re born with, like a genetic disease, or is it something that can affect anyone?
I was not born with psoriasis, but it is a genetic disorder! I formed psoriasis after years of stress and anxiety, which was enhanced by a poor diet and lack of nutrition when I studied abroad in Hong Kong. I did have “eczema” as a kid, but looking back, I think it might’ve been a children’s form of psoriasis. But I’m not too sure.
What coping strategies do you have that you find affective for living with psoriasis, so that other suffers can benefit by using them for themselves?
- Having open discussions with friends and family
- Researching online everything you can so it’s not as scary
- Reaching out to NPF because they have a reassuring and kind social media team that answers any questions you have, any time you have them
- Speaking with a trusted doctor and being honest about your mental health
- Looking for online support groups/others who have psoriasis
- Watching YouTube videos online about how others cope, and listening to their stories
- Be willing to try different methods of healing (topical creams, phototherapy, counseling for mental health, medication, meditation) and do not give up if a cream or medication doesn’t work. It took me about 2 years months to find an effective treatment!
Thank you to anyone who got this far in the post! I know it’s a bit long, but I wanted to answer the questions to my best ability. Thank you again to Unwanted Life for DM’ing me these really thoughtful questions. (Go ahead and give their blog and Twitter a follow too! They’re really supportive! 🙂 )I hope this helped you, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to either me or NPF with anything that you need.
Healing from psoriasis is possible. Just talk about it. Raise awareness. Try everything. You are not alone! 🙂