Let’s Be Clear About Being Clear
It’s every person with psoriasis’ greatest desire: having clear skin. To be able to take the car in for an oil change without first stopping at a carwash to frantically vacuum up the layers of skin that have accumulated on your dash, seats, and floorboards. To shake hands with a stranger without noticing them hesitate as they see your spotted hand reach towards theirs. To gain an hour each day where you aren’t slathering yourself in goop. This is the dream. Astonishingly, with the advancement of psoriasis treatments, this dream is becoming a reality for more and more people. I have even been able to experience it myself. As great as it is (I wouldn’t trade it for the world), there are a few things that come with being clear that I didn’t expect.
Becoming clear after years of carrying around heavy plaques is similar to losing a significant amount of weight; you must get to know your new body. Those first few glances in the mirror as you jump in the shower might be startling. You might think some creep has snuck into your house. Don’t be alarmed! It will take a while to get used to your new appearance (I discovered I had freckles! Who knew?). When your psoriasis was at its worst, you may have been like me and done crazy ninja moves to avoid the mirror any chance you got. Take a few extra moments and check yourself out. Not only will this build your confidence, but it is beneficial to track your progress and be able to recognize signs of a flare.
The wind feels weird
You don’t only look different, you feel different. In fact, everything feels different. Your skin is more sensitive than it has ever been, especially if you had very thick plaques previously. Clothing that irritated your skin before might still feel scratchy, but wearing short sleeves and shorts expose you to the bristling effects of wind. You may also find that you are more or less sensitive to hot and cold temperatures without the extra “protective” layers of skin. Be patient as you adjust to new situations where your newly exposed skin is being touched.
Check me out!
You may have grown used to the stares your speckled body attracted. When your skin clears up, your very visible disease turns into an invisible disease. Although it might be a relief to not get gawked at by strangers, you may still draw a lot of attention from those close to you in your life. Such a dramatic change in your appearance can bring on many questions and assumptions from others about your disease. In my experience, the most common assumption is that I am cured. This is quickly followed by “why didn’t you do this years ago?” Only answer the questions you feel comfortable with, and don’t feel bad if you don’t want to explain that there isn’t a cure for the 102nd time.
Stay away, pretty please
After getting through the new transitions of being clear, you will begin to rediscover your new skin and enjoy it more and more with each day. Your sheets won’t be covered in dried blood from all the nighttime scratching. You will hug a friend who is wearing black clothes without reluctance. Most importantly, you will start to realize that you are so much more than this disease. Then, one morning you may wake up with the startling realization that your skin symptoms might return. That there is no guaranteed treatment with psoriasis. That you may lose this smooth skin you have grown to love. It’s good to be aware of the possibilities, but don’t let them steal your joy. Enjoy the reprieve and stay positive. Stress can trigger a flare, so stressing about an unknown future is not worth it. Plus, there are amazing treatments on the horizon! Continue to be involved in the psoriasis community and seek and give support knowing that there are many others just like you who will walk alongside you no matter what tomorrow holds.
How often do you experience brain fog?