Click here for COVID-19 (coronavirus) advice for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Joe was diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis over 10 years ago. In his story he discusses the treatments he has tried, what raising awareness means to him, and coming to terms with his skin.
Hello, my name is Joe, I’m 31 years old.
I was first diagnosed with psoriasis age 20 whilst at University. I can’t really pinpoint a trigger if I’m honest, although I doubt the student lifestyle did me any favours.
For the first few years my psoriasis was fairly tolerable with only a few small patches on my legs. I could get by on steroid creams and dressing tactically in the summer. However throughout my twenties my containment strategy gradually fell apart as psoriasis set in across my body.
By age twenty-five my legs, arms, back and hairline were all hit hard with psoriasis – and to a large extent still are. I suffer from pretty textbook plaque psoriasis which seems to flare and retreat much like others have described.
In my early twenties I was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in my left knee and both hands. As well as being painful, my knee was almost comically swollen. This required aspirating (draining) several times to relieve the pressure which was not particularly pleasant. Fortunately, the PsA appears to have calmed in recent years and my (sometimes swollen) fingers remain crossed.
Beyond the usual lotions and potions for my skin, I’ve also undergone two rounds of UVB light therapy. Whilst I know it’s only a temporary fix, it’s welcome respite and gave me a ‘clear’ summer this year (as pictured). I will likely look to other treatment options in the future, but for now I’m happy to tick along as I am and try to be a bit more disciplined with my moisturising routine.
In regards to raising awareness, I think it’s important for people to know how even the ‘little things’ can end up feeling pretty relentless for those with psoriasis. The daily moisturising, the greasy ointments that ruin your clothes, the blood on the bedsheets, the psoriasis flakes which seem to get absolutely everywhere… all from a condition that will never truly leave you alone. A Sisyphean effort at times.
On the whole, I’ve pretty much made my peace with my psoriasis. There will always be days where I roll my eyes in front of the mirror, or choose trousers over shorts, but I don’t really worry too much about what others think. It’s good to remind yourself that most people are just curious and really do mean no harm. The deliberately insensitive are simply not worth the time.
I wish everyone well and hope you take some comfort from the ever increasing online community. There are some great treatment options out so there now, so just do what’s right for you.