Psoriasis and your self-esteem
If you have the chronic skin condition psoriasis, you might struggle with your self-confidence.
The redness, scaling and flaky skin associated with psoriasis can be difficult to mask and might make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. You might worry that people are looking at your skin or avoiding physical contact with you out of a false fear that your condition is contagious. Research also shows that people with psoriasis struggle with anxiety over their appearance and are at increased risk of depression.
To avoid these complications, consider these tips to improve your self-esteem and ease depression as you manage your psoriasis.
Psoriasis can cause discomfort and embarrassment. To feel more comfortable and confident:
- Educate yourself about psoriasis, your triggers and your treatment options. Share what you learn with family and friends.
- Work with your doctor to determine your treatment plan and follow it.
- Join a support group for people with psoriasis. You might find comfort in sharing your struggles and meeting people who face similar challenges.
Support your mental health
While there's no sure way to prevent depression, certain strategies might help as you manage your psoriasis. For example:
- Take steps to control stress through activities such as meditation, exercise and deep breathing.
- Reach out to family and friends when you are in need. It might help to share your feelings and concerns with trusted loved ones.
- Seek treatment for depression at the earliest sign of a problem.
Taking care of yourself can also promote your mental health. Get regular exercise and plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and avoid tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.
Use cover-up when necessary
If you're feeling self-conscious about your psoriasis, consider using makeup to conceal affected areas. To apply:
- Prepare your skin. Wash your skin with a gentle cleanser. Try to remove any flakes. Apply moisturizer and then primer, a base layer to help makeup go on smoothly and stay put.
- Bend your joints. If you're trying to mask psoriasis on your elbows, knees or other joints, bend them as you apply makeup. This will help it stay in place as you move.
- Choose your foundation. If your skin is very red, opt for a color-correcting foundation in a yellow or green hue. For affected skin with only mild discoloration, use a cream or liquid foundation that matches your natural skin tone. Apply the foundation evenly, blending it in to smooth out the edges around areas with psoriasis.
- Finish with powder. Use a brush to apply pressed powder over foundation and set it. Test the powder on a small area of skin first to make sure it doesn't cause irritation.
- Avoid cosmetics that add shine and sparkle. Steer clear of cosmetics that contain glitter and highlighters. These can be irritating to your skin and draw attention to areas you want to camouflage.
If psoriasis is taking a toll on your self-esteem, talk to your health care provider. He or she might have more tips to help you cope or recommend that you see a mental health provider.
Jan. 05, 2017
See more In-depth
- Women and the heavy toll of psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/women-and-psoriasis. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
- Depression. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/depression. Accessed Nov. 21. 2016.
- Tips to manage anxiety and stress. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://www.adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
- Owczarek K, et al. Quality of life and severity of skin changes in the dynamics of psoriasis. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology. 2016;33:102.
- Makeup tips for skin with psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/make-up-tips-for-skin-with-psoriasis. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
- Psoriasis. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/scaly-skin/psoriasis#tips. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
- Ghorbanibirgani A, et al. The lived experience of psoriasis patients from social stigma and rejection: A qualitative study. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2016;18:e27893.