It’s Just Psoriasis, It’s Not Contagious

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As I brave my winter skin, I also brace myself for the stares and comments that come along with it. As a New York native, I can say I am fairly accustomed to the bizarre and odd things that one sees in this city. Cirque du Soleil on the train… questionable food on the streets sold from even more questionable vans… fashion statements galore… you name it, we have it. But what happens when you are on the other end of the staring?

I don’t care how long you have Psoriasis, you never get used to the stares. You never get used to the moving of seats on the train just to get away from you. You never get used to the questions. And, oddly enough, for a city that considers itself so diverse and open-minded, I think we can be one of the most close minded cities in the world.

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I’ll never forget standing on the street one day waiting for my car to be taken out of valet. A little kid, maybe four or five years old, was getting out of the car with his parents and he asked his mom if she thought all the bug bites on my skin hurt. It was maybe one of the most innocent things I had encountered concerning my disease. He didn’t mean anything by it and it was almost sweet. But the way it hit me and hurt me will never leave me. Kids can be so innocent and so raw.

Walking by unusual people every day never bothered me. It still doesn’t. But to suddenly be my own little side show was surprising to me. I never really saw it that way but I was this little freak roaming the streets of New York. I didn’t fit in! And all because of my SKIN!

I think my point is… take it with a grain of salt. Try not to slide your sleeves down to make people feel comfortable, or sit by yourself on the train away from everyone intentionally. If someone has an issue with your skin, let them ask you about it. You’ll be surprised how many people will sigh when you say, “it’s just psoriasis. it’s not contagious.”

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You Get A Giveaway! You Get A Giveaway! Everyone Gets A Giveaway!

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So, FREE stuff rocks.

With that said, I’m having my first giveaway soon! Thanks to Etsy and all the absolutely amazing people working so hard on there, I’m happy to say that I’ll be giving away at least 5 really amazing travel packages. Why?

Well, I travel a lot. And it’s been really tough on my body and my skin. A lot of the time I carry my bag on just because it’s easier (or because I’m cheap and not paying $25!!) – so I know if I bring my creams and medicines and special shampoos, I risk having them tossed.

In the near future I’ll be posting a blog about traveling with psoriasis and to the first 5 people who post a picture of their psoriasis or their battle with psoriasis on my Facebook page …. Facebook.com/SeeingPspots … I will be sending you a toiletry bag (I have men’s and women’s, don’t worry) with creams and oils and soaps and lots of fun stuff to bring on your next trip.

I’ll be in touch soon but for now LIKE my Facebook and follow me. I’ll let you know a week in advance when this will take place.

Hugs and Love to you All!

#KeepCalmAndSpotOn

 

My Psoriasis “Family”

A few months ago I was introduced to an amazing group of people that I like to call my “Pso. Family”, and that’s exactly what they are to me (minus the Italian screaming across the table and the occasional “Fuggetaboutit”). Even though psoriasis affects 3% of the worlds population, that’s approximately 125 million people worldwide*, the community of people who are willing to speak about it is relatively small. This doesn’t surprise me. We have become so accustomed to covered our skin condition literally with clothes and even just hiding indoors that we seem to have incorporated this stigma with us in a mental capacity.

I am fortunate enough to be an advocate and volunteer for The National Psoriasis Foundation. This invitation has not only opened so many amazing doors for me but it has allowed me to interact and welcome fellow psoriasis sufferers into my life. Not only are these people my support system, my friends, my colleagues, and my heroes in a lot of ways but they are also my second family.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking about your psoriasis, I highly recommend finding a support system that listens to you when you need to talk and supports you when you need to be lifted up a bit. There are so many things to dislike about this disease but my Pso. Family is not one of them. Find your “family” and I promise it will make a world of difference for you and your skin.

Now can somebody pass the meatballs and sauce??? Fuggetaboutit!

*Psoriasis.org

Just Face It!

So, I’ve had psoriasis for over a year now. For some reason it seems to pop up more in the spring/summer time than in the fall/winter months (don’t ask me why, it’s usually the opposite for most people).

Anyway, it started on my face this time which is the FIRST TIME it’s ever been on my face. I suppose it was bound to happen at some point. It’s hard to have psoriasis pop up on places that are hard to hide (likkeeeeee my face, unless I wear a mask or stocking over it but I don’t plan on robbing a bank anytime soon). My advice? Just FACE it!

So what? You have a few spots on your face or your hands or any other place that’s particularly noticeable. My whole theory is if YOU don’t treat it like it’s a big deal, then others will react less to it. Don’t draw more attention by trying to hide it. Own it. And of course take care of it. Keep the area clean, put on your topical lotions or creams, DON’T PICK and take it easy. It’s not fun but make the best of it.

*Everything stated on my blog is my own personal opinion and thoughts. You should never take it as medical advice and always seek out a professional physician*

How The H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks (HELL) Did You Do It???

Due to the OVERWHELMING request from you guys to know what I do to help my skin, (did I mention how appreciative I am for all the love? Well, I am.) I’m dedicating an entire blog to you all and spilling the beans. Please keep in mind *** I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, ALL ACCOUNTS ARE MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING WITH ANY MEDICAL CONDITION *** Now that we got the boring stuff out of the way…

Early 2014 I ran into a few life snags. I was stressed, I was eating poorly due to this and I just wasn’t taking care of myself. At All. As my stress increased, i began to see tiny dots on my body. I visited a doctor and he diagnosed it as Guttate Psoriasis (thanks doc. for the $200 bill… you were wrong). He gave me a topical lotion with steroids and sent me on my way.

A month passed and it just got worse. The tiny circles were now giant red, irritated, bleeding circles. Ouch. Not only were they painful but they began to itch and grow plaques (white scales that just fell of all over the house). How embarrassing !?!? But no one was telling me what to do because NO ONE KNEW. The sad thing is… most doctors are not informed enough to inform us. So what do you do? I took charge and researched and researched and then I cried and cried. Was I going to look like this forever? Who will want to date me? Who will even want to be in public with me? So I became pro-active.

AGAIN, DO NOT TAKE WHAT I TELL YOU AS SERIOUS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK OUT A PHYSICIAN.

TIPS:

-Don’t itch. I know it hurts, I know it itches and I know you want to pick those tiny little pieces of skin that seem to just about be falling off. DON’T. Let them come off on their own.

-Showers… luke warm showers. Not hot. And do not cheat and use a loofa (I know who you are). Use a bar of soap or a lather from a liquid soap. I recommend any baby soaps as they have little or no chemicals in them (same for lotions) … also, tar soaps have been amazing to me but everyones skin is different. Trial and error is best. Head and Shoulders for hair or T-Gel for hair. They are expensive so use them only when needed and don’t over wash hair if you don’t need to. Oils are OK!!

-As said above, keep your lotions chemical free. Baby lotions work best for me.

-Washing your clothes seems like a small thing but the detergent you use can affect your skin as well. Tide works best for me so I buy the Tide Pods.

– I don’t know what or if your doctor prescribed or recommended a lotion. If he or she did, i suggest rubbing it on the parts of your body that need it… if he did not then I suggest buying TAR based lotions an rubbing it on and saran wrapping those body parts. It seems ridiculous but it keeps the lotion on and soaks it in overnight. Your skin will be soft and supple in the morning.

-If you itch in the evening, wear gloves. Ridiculous? YUP! but you will be clear as soon as you can spell PSORIASIS.

-KEEP YOUR NAILS SHORT!!! This leaves less room for scratching. I know it sucks ladies but it’s worth it.

-Vitamins!!!! Take a daily vitamin and some vitamin D every day

-Your diet. When I chose to eat better my body thanked me. I limited alcohol consumption, red meat and I started eating Paleo. Paleo is essentially what the “cavemen” ate. Anything you can pick or kill. Fruits, veggies, meats. No carbs or sugars. If not just for your disease, do it for your overall health. You will feel stronger, healthier and happier. I assure you.

-Add exercise!!!! This disease attacks our immune system. Attack it back!!! Eat right, work out, kick it’s ass!!

There are many other things I recommend but will not on my blog. Medications have helped many people, I myself used UV therapy, topical lotions, etc. All things your doctor can prescribe …

BUT my general advice is eat right, treat your skin well. get some natural sunlight. and be positive. it seems simple but im living proof. I love you all and feel your pain. I am here always for any of you. ❤ SeeingPspots

I am ALWAYS available for support and question at seeingpspots@gmail.com ❤ Keep positive, keep hope

Tattoos and Psoriasis

Pso…. (see what I did there?) No, seriously. So, I have quite a bit of ink. During my first flare-up I was actually getting a tattoo. At this point my psoriasis was undiagnosed and I had just a few areas that had spots. No biggie. I went through with the tattoo. WELL…. Not my best decision.

My psoriasis responds to stress. It’s like sprinkling water on a gremlin; all hell breaks loose. I love my tattoos but a tattoo is just injury to the skin, injuries cause stress, voila -> flare-up. Everyone has their own opinions on whether or not a person with psoriasis should be getting inked. Personally, I recommend not getting a tattoo during a flare up. Any way you can help your body and not harm your body is a plus during this period and Dr. Wasserman a Bakersfield, Calif., dermatologist and clinical researcher, seems to agree.

“One of the issues, any time the skin is traumatized, is psoriasis can occur in that area,” says Wasserman, referring to what’s known as the Koebner phenomenon. “And tattoos are trauma. In order to get a tattoo, needles have to be put in and there’s trauma that happens to the skin. It’s likely to bring up psoriasis in those areas.”*

Is it medically proven? Not really but why risk it. My tattoo is still unfinished a year later because I want almost completely clear skin when I go to finish it. And honestly, I probably won’t be getting more after it but if I were diagnosed sooner in life, I probably would have gotten a few and taken my chances.

In this case and any others, please consult your physician.

Does anyone have tattoos and psoriasis?

*National Psoriasis Foundation Interview : http://www.psoriasis.org/advance/features/to-tattoo-or-not-to-tattoo-psoriasis

Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends

O.K. so I don’t think any of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. cast members has psoriasis BUT I cannot stress how important it is to have support when you are struggling with psoriasis. When I first found out I spent DAYS in bed. You can’t really understand how horrible it feels to have much of your skin taken over by your own bodies immune system. ::: Insert dramatic, tearful fall to knees action :::    WHYYYYYYY LORD, WHYYYYYYY?    ::: shakes fist at sky :::

Sigh. I know. It psucks. But when i got my butt out of bed and threw myself head first into my disease by writing about it, talking about it, venting about it and blogging about it, I began to meet people who were willing to talk about their struggle. And I promise it makes all the difference. (I talk to Brooklyn the Wonder Pup all the time about it!)

I think we as psoriasis sufferers tend to be so accustomed to hiding under layers of clothes and lies about our skin that we just don’t know how to be open about it. “What’s everyone going to think if they know? I’m not dirty. It’s not contagious. Am I not going to be invited to go into Amanda’s pool next weekend? Will everyone be disgusted by my flaking skin?” And my answer to all those will be, some people are going to be ignorant, yes, and most people are not going to understand your daily struggle with the disease but I can almost say with 100% certainty that ANYONE within the psoriasis community will embrace you and support you.

So please… inform yourself so that you can inform others and don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone anywhere in the psoriasis community. If anyone literally feels your pain, we do.

ON THAT NOTE… I’m going to leave the board open to discussion and I promise I will answer every question. Consider me your first Pso. Friend =) – Brittany