8 Things I Wish I'd Known About Psoriasis

by Amy Tudor Patient Expert

Eight HealthCentral readers reveal what they wish they had known about managing psoriasis -- from learning how to find which treatment works best for them, to finding out how other people with psoriasis respond to the condition.

Stressed man at laptop.

Stress matters

I laughed off advice about stress reduction for years, but after a while my wife pointed out that my psoriasis symptoms are harder to control when I'm under a lot of pressure. Maybe it's because I often didn't take care of myself during those times, but now I make sure to find ways to relieve stress when it begins to build up. Meditation didn't help me, but boxing sure does! -- Clay, age 31

Fancy bars of soap.

My treatments need a lot of attention

I've tried a lot of different medications and therapies for plaque psoriasis, and some of them (like biologics) have required a lot of management. Now, I pay closer attention to exactly what I'm doing when a treatment seems to work, and more attention to what irritates my skin! -- Micah, age 26

Woman finding her way in a crowd.

I need to be my own guide

When I was first diagnosed, I read everything I could find online about psoriasis and I made a lot of friends and connections with other people who have the condition. For a long time, I thought my experience with psoriasis would mirror theirs, but I'm finding that's not true. I've had to find my own way and that means doing what works and feels right to me. -- Bethanne, age 33

Herbs and complementary and alternative medicine.

Alternative treatments can treat more than symptoms

There's a lot of controversy about what types of alternative therapies for psoriasis work, but I have gotten a lot of benefit out of some of them. I listen to my doctor, but I also explore other possibilities. I feel like my body is healthier in many ways now, and -- just as importantly -- I feel my mental health and peace of mind are also improving because I'm taking care of my whole self. -- Carol, age 51

Woman consulting a life coach.

I need to deal with image issues

I wish psoriasis didn't affect the way that I feel about my body, but it does. For a long time, I just ignored that effect -- or hoped it would change. Then I started seeing a counselor to talk about the way my condition makes me feel. Even though that's been hard, it really has been worth it. -- Martin, age 40

Vitamins and pills in man hand

I need to develop better health habits

I didn't develop psoriasis until I was in my mid-50s, and by that time, I had an established routine for sun exposure (I avoided it!) and other lifestyle factors, some of which were not really healthy. Since I discovered I have psoriasis, I've had to develop a new set of habits for my health. I wish I'd known before about moisturizing, healthy sun exposure, and how to pay attention to my depression symptoms. -- Joan, 59

Woman with chronic pain relaxing on her couch with a laptop.

Patience and a sense of humor can help

My son developed psoriasis when he was quite young. I was so overwhelmed by his diagnosis that I made his life a difficult round of doctors -- looking for the "perfect" treatment and harping on him about his medications. I wish now that I had spent more of that time being patient -- with him, with his doctors, and with myself. I also wish I had laughed a little more about some of the frustrations. -- Terri, age 61

Smiling friends fostering positivity.

Psoriais reveals a lot about other people

Growing up with psoriasis meant that I heard a lot of teasing and the cruelty of some people has stayed with me for years. But over time, I learned that the way people respond to my psoriasis reveals more about them than it does about me. I think this realization taught me how to identify kind, open people -- and now they're the only ones I bother with! -- Chris, age 28

Amy Tudor
Meet Our Writer
Amy Tudor

Amy wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Psoriasis.