If you have psoriasis, you know that it’s not just a skin thing. The immune disorder shows up with lesions that range from tiny red bumps to thick, silvery scales. It’s itchy. It’s unsightly. It’s painful. Most of all, it’s annoying.
You weigh nearly every decision against the chance of causing a flare. (Will I regret this coffee? Should I risk sleeping on my date’s mystery sheets?)
It’s also a time-suck. From dermatology visits to applying lotions and ointments—more than half of people with psoriasis spend an hour or more a day on skincare. Can you even imagine what else you could get accomplished in that time? We’ve rounded up some ideas here for what we’d rather be doing than dealing with psoriasis. We bet you'll relate.
1. Working up a summer sweat.
Preferably from a killer game of beach volleyball or a night of wild sex, and not from wearing an oppressive cardigan to cover up the plaques on your arms.
2. Twirling around in a chic little black dress.
Whether it’s from the Rick Owens runway or a local Eileen Fisher, the perfect minimalist outfit provides mystique and makes you look instantly pulled-together. It works at a job interview. It works at an art gallery. It works at a funeral. You know where it doesn’t work? On people with psoriasis (particularly scalp psoriasis), whose dry skin flakes stand out against dark fabrics and make you look like the “before” in a dandruff commercial.
We’re not saying you can’t pull it off. We’re just saying you may want to stock up on lint rollers for every room of the house, plus your glove compartment. An easier way: Celebrate summer with light-colored dresses and tops.
3. Reading the book before the movie comes out.
On our list: The Warehouse by Rob Hart, a sci-fi thriller about dystopian capitalism that director Ron Howard has already bought the rights to. There’s no movie release date just yet, so you still have time to comb the pages—especially if you stop spending every free minute down the internet rabbit hole, scrolling through articles about psoriasis self-care instead.
4. Funding your retirement.
Psoriasis treatment is ridiculously expensive—topical creams and ointments, light therapy, and/or biologics add up to around $8,000 per year—just to keep your itchy, flaky skin in check, according to a 2015 review in JAMA Dermatology. That’s $2,000 more than your maximum yearly IRA contribution!
Imagine if instead of spending an hour a day burning through cash, you were making bank telling other people how to care for their skin. (Money saving tip: Petroleum jelly and coconut oil both lock in skin’s moisture on the cheap.)
5. Experimenting with makeup—just for fun.
No obsessing over whether the color will make scaly patches look worse. No scrutinizing every ingredient on the package to make sure it won’t trigger a psoriasis flare. Common culprits include alcohols like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and methanol, which dry out skin’s protective barrier, plus irritating fragrances and dyes.
6. Drunk-eating a maple-bacon donut the size of your head.
A psoriasis-free you would love nothing more than to give a middle finger to your inflammation-sensitive skin with this totally-not-healthy treat. Refined sugar is the top offender (it spikes your blood sugar—and odds of a flare), followed by bacon (processed meat is high in skin-inflaming saturated fat), and finally, the oil it was fried in (usually canola, which has too many pro-inflammatory omega-6s). And let’s not forget the alcohol you’d be washing it down with, which is a psoriasis trigger in itself.
7. Using a shampoo based only on how amazing it smells.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to choose one of those fancy bottles just to inhale its exotic ylang ylang and orchid scent while you lather up? Or to pick a minimalist bottle with modern design for how chic it would look in an Instagram #shelfie?
Unfortunately, if you have scalp psoriasis, you’re better off using an itch-relieving shampoo that slows skin cell overgrowth with coal tar or helps remove scales with salicylic acid. They might not smell like a garden sunset in Hawaii, but shampoos bearing the NPF Seal of Recognition are safe for people with psoriasis.
It’s possible an hour a day wouldn’t even be enough to fully embrace your new personality. The idea, popularized by conspiracy theorist David Icke and celebrated by about 12 million global citizens, holds that bucketloads of famous people—from George Washington to Princess Diana to Mark Zuckerberg—were or are secretly shape-shifting reptilians called the Anunnaki bent on world domination. Want to confuse the crap out of the next person who bothers you about the scales on your arms and legs? Tell them your new backstory.
9. Talking politics with your family at the Thanksgiving table.
Or talking anything, really, instead of explaining for the thousandth time that your psoriasis lesions are not contagious. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin—you’re not going catch it if we bump elbows, Aunt Karen!
10. Sharing body lotion with Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
Sure, he’s a serial killer. Yeah, he’s creepy about applying lotion. But at least he’s not convinced his random skin cream will magically cure your psoriasis. Somehow, all your well-meaning friends (none of whom are dermatologists) feel compelled to give you unsolicited skin cream reccos—because what’s another five minutes of slathering when you’re already spending 60 minutes a day on your skin, right?