Woman with long brown hair scratches her itchy arm.

Does Psoriasis Give You Sensitive Skin?

I apologize upfront that this is not an article filled with stats and research about the incidence of sensitive skin in patients with psoriasis. I’m genuinely asking: does psoriasis give you sensitive skin? Because it certainly does for me! Prior to being diagnosed with psoriasis in my childhood, my skin was not finicky. But after my diagnosis? My skin just seems to get crankier and crankier.

The incident with the poison ivy

In a previous article, “Psoriasis on the Rebound,” I talked about how a round of prednisone for poison ivy caused a big psoriasis flare, but I didn’t talk too much about how strange it was that I was the only person who got poison ivy in the first place! I traveled to Georgian Bay with some friends in high school for a cottage weekend. One night, we all sat in the sand dunes by the water. The dunes were covered in poison ivy, and my friends and I all sat in it, but I was the only one who developed the rash and blisters (and BAD!). This was the first of many incidents where my skin way overreacted.

The incident in Turkey

After I graduated from my M.Sc. degree, I took off backpacking for six months. Partway in, my then fiancé (now husband) flew out to meet me for a week in Turkey. The hotel we stayed in was cheap...and a total dive. My husband and I both slept in shorts and t-shirts, but only one of us broke out in mysterious hives all over their legs. Spoiler alert, it was me! Was it something they washed the sheets with? Did something bite me? We’ll never know, but where my husband had no problem, I was a total mess.

The incident with my deodorant

A while ago I started making my own deodorant using baking soda, coconut oil, and arrowroot powder. This homemade version is cheaper and healthier than store-bought deodorant, but I had to start making it for a very practical reason – suddenly my favorite deodorant brands started causing me to develop discoloring under my armpits, and rashes. I was never able to identify what ingredient(s) was responsible, but nothing seemed to help. Add it to the list of why my skin is so dramatic!

The incident in the laboratory

The first summer in University I spent working in a molecular laboratory was an exciting time for me. I loved science and the people I was working with. One month in though I noticed that my hands were becoming red, chapped, and covered in itchy bumps. I tried different OTC creams and antihistamines, but nothing kept the hives at bay. Eventually, I realized it was the latex gloves I was reacting to – I switched to powder-free nitrile gloves and the hives went away. My doctor says I don’t have a latex allergy, just a sensitivity. I have the same reaction to latex Band-Aids too.

The incident at the cottage

Finally, I come to the incident that happened yesterday at a cottage my husband and I were visiting for the Canada Day long weekend – the incident that inspired me to think back over all the situations when my skin has behaved badly. It was my second time swimming that weekend, and after I came out my husband remarked that I seemed to be having a reaction to something on my chest. Sure enough, my chest and upper arms were covered in red splotches. When I took my bathing suit off, my stomach and thighs had broken out in a bright red rash. I took a shower and after an hour or so everything had settled down, but we still don’t know what caused it. Did I swim through something? Was it something I ate?

Unfortunately, I doubt I’m through with my sensitive skin, or the mysterious rashes, or the sudden outbreaks of hives. In the meantime, I’ll try to be good to my skin and hope that we can exist together amicably, but I’ll always slightly lament my childhood days when I had no skin issues.

What about you? Do you have sensitive skin? Tell me about it in the comments!

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