The impact of psoriasis on confidence and self-esteem
- school, college, university and studies
- social life and hobbies
- friendships and intimate relationships
- job interviews and work life
- relationships with family members
People had different strategies for managing times when they felt less confident about psoriasis. Often this involved hiding psoriasis with clothing, make-up or hair styles, though this is difficult with skin flaking and for very visible parts such as the face and hands. Carys found make-up “took the redness” away, even though the dryness of the skin was still there. Louie found wearing long-sleeved tops sometimes drew more attention and questions about his skin. Some people cancelled plans when they felt bad about their psoriasis. Damini says she would “hide away” in her room at university, “make excuses” to avoid socialising and stopped posting on social media. Hannah found she was “pushing everyone away” at low points. Others, like Louis and Steven, said they refused to let feeling embarrassment about psoriasis stop them from doing things. Growing in confidence
Some people said they had become more accepting and confident with time. Often they thought that getting a bit older helped. Simon feels he’s “accepted” psoriasis as only one “part of me” rather than something “to be defined by”.
Many felt strongly that psoriasis is not something to be embarrassed about. This can be difficult to put into practice though. Steven and Damini said it can be nerve-wracking going out in summer in shorts that showed their psoriasis or scarring. For some, feeling self-conscious about psoriasis was also linked to wider pressures on appearance and body image which they thought could make people feel bad about themselves. A few people said there had been some good things from having psoriasis – such as becoming a kinder and more understanding person. Many wanted to help others going through the same experiences, such as by starting blogs. Megan is “passionate” in educating others about psoriasis, including her school teachers, and Lucy volunteers for a skin conditions charity. Talking to supportive others (including those who have psoriasis themselves as well as family, friends and partners), was usually seen as a good thing. Damini says she was “bottling” her feelings up for a long time but feels “a lot happier within myself” since she started talking more about her psoriasis.