For most of my adult life, I have been conscientious about the products I use on my body; I have been particularly careful about the products that I use because I have highly sensitive skin. I previously wrote about seeking beauty products that don’t contain parabens or sulfates or ones that have been tested on animals, and I have also discussed ingredients to avoid in makeup and skincare products due to the harmful impact that they have on our bodies.
For the past six months, I had experienced persistent itching and scabbing on my skin that wasn’t going away with over-the-counter medication and creams; after consulting a doctor, it was concluded that I had psoriasis that had been triggered by stress. Genetics also play a major role, and someone else in my family has the disease (my sister was also recently diagnosed with rosacea). In my case, something triggered the psoriasis to flare, which causes the skin cells to grow at an abnormally fast rate, resulting in a buildup of the lesions.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It can be long-lasting, but there may be times when symptoms can get better or worse. It is a common skin condition, however, there are plenty of treatment options that can offer relief to maintain a normal lifestyle. Psoriasis is not contagious. It is not something you can “catch” or that others can catch from you, and the lesions are not infectious.
What triggers psoriasis? Psoriasis triggers are not universal. What may cause one person’s psoriasis to become active may not affect another person. Mine was triggered by stress, which caused my psoriasis to present itself for the first time. Learning to relax more and reducing my workload—along with medication—was a key factor in reducing the impact of psoriasis. Some other triggers include injury to the skin, certain medications such as lithium, antimalarials, Inderal, quinidine, and indomethacin, as well as infection such as strep throat that can affect the immune system. Although there is no scientific proof, some people with psoriasis suspect that allergies, diet, and weather trigger their psoriasis.
Coping with psoriasis has been a challenge. I have dealt with sensitivities regarding my skin since childhood, and psoriasis has impacted my clothing, makeup, and more, which hasn’t been easy to accept because I’m such a girly girl! The ongoing persistent nature of the disease means that in addition to following my doctor’s recommendations, I have to understand the triggers and make sure that I prevent flare-ups, and this includes educating those around me so that they can recognize, acknowledge, and support my efforts in dealing with the disease.