There is one aspect of having psoriasis that no one really talks about – the feelings of nervousness and embarrassment it can create when it comes to matters of love. To love and be loved is to expose yourself and your insecurities. For those of us who have psoriasis it can be even more nerve-racking when you have skin that is less than perfect.
Everywhere you look we are presented with images of perfection; the perfect weight, the perfect hair, the perfect smile and of course, the multi-billion dollar industry that sells us the promise of perfect skin. As someone who has had psoriasis their whole life, I frequently find myself drawn to any product that promises to make my skin look smooth, glowing, sunkissed or anything other than red, splodgy and scaly.
This image of perfection and psoriasis got a little bit of press coverage last year when the tabloid star, Kim Kardashian, discovered she had psoriasis. Now, whatever you may think of Kim Kardashian and the rest of the Kardashian clan this is an interesting and hopefully positive event. Kim Kardashian is considered by many to be the height of beauty and sexiness in 2012. Her reaction, to discovering at the age of 30, that she had psoriatic skin was probably quite typical. The episode shows her being extremely upset and panicking about what people will think of her. She also makes the classic mistake of Googling for images of the skin disorder. However, as is the style of the show generally, by the end of the episode she has learned it’s a genetic disorder, her mother had it too, and she finds the strength to still take part in a bikini photo shoot.
Its easy to scoff at what many consider to be a silly programme but her experience of finding out she has it later in life is not unusual. Her fear and sense of disgust at her own skin isn’t unusual either. Yet I’m sure very few men or women would say she was any less attractive because of a few red marks on her legs.
When psoriasis flares up it’s completely understandable to be embarrassed about showing your skin. It’s been beautiful weather in London for the last few days and I have worn tops that show my arms and legs for the first time this year and they are covered in psoriasis plaques. I think a few strangers sneaked a glance but no one said a thing.
When it comes to love, if someone truly cares about you the last thing they will want to do is make you feel self conscious. But as those with psoriasis we also need to be understanding that if someone doesn’t know what it is, it’s ok for them to ask. Neither love nor beauty are skin deep.