Psoriasis Relapse: Is The Next Flare Around The Corner?
Last updated: June 2023
When a person lives with psoriasis, we can become a little obsessed with our skin. We manage our plaques and hope for remission and aim to avoid any triggers that could bring on the next flare. We all know a flare is when psoriasis symptoms worsen, and we must reset how we treat our skin.
I'm still trying to figure out what "remission" means to me. Personally, I have never been 100% clear or pain-free. That said, the fear remains of a potential flare or worsening symptoms. When it comes to managing life with psoriatic disease - this is just another factor in managing this chronic condition.
Even when in remission, psoriasis can takes its toll
Psoriasis flares almost feel like an inevitable part of psoriasis management, and fighting a flare is so much easier in my head. There have been times when I've been so nervous about a flare that I would stand in front of a mirror every hour to see if new plaques were appearing.
I know it sounds crazy, but I've lived with psoriasis for over 50 years - this condition consumes me. It's a part of me.
When looking at my skin, worried about an increase in symptoms, I calculate everything from the past few days. Potential triggers, my shampoo list, and the time of year. In summer is when I see the most clearance and experience little pain. A clear scalp is such an awesome feeling. A wonderful feeling, I must say.
The fear of relapse, the fear of more plaques appearing, always keeps me on edge.
Psoriasis relapse seems to always be on my mind
The fear of new psoriasis triggers is always a thought of mine. I mean, always. Working, meeting people, and going out. It's a thought that never leaves my side. For me, nightshades are one of my biggest triggers. It sends my body into new psoriasis plaques almost immediately.
Living with such uncertainty leaves me feeling vulnerable and never present. Who can live with such unpredictability? I'm already insecure about my skin! Now, I have the emotional toll of potential relapse.
This balancing act is far from easy. I need to find new ways to take back control. This condition consumes so much of my brain power. I know these feelings are normal, but sometimes they can be all-consuming. A sigh of relief is never a feeling I'll experience, whether I'm flaring or afraid of the next one.
What can we do with these unhelpful thoughts?
What does remission look like for me? Well, as I said, I've never experienced full clearance but have come pretty close. Even when clearance looked close, I stayed in front of the mirror, paranoid about new plaques. I decided this wasn't the most healthy behavior.
I checked myself and decided to control my mirror visits. I knew that if I had new plaques, I would know it and didn't need a mirror to tell me. That's what I would say to you: stop checking yourself every minute.
If we're finding success with treatment, we should also keep our skincare routine in check. We should also practice self-care and self-compassion. It's a combination of these things that will allow us to live our lives, keep our heads up and let the flare come if it must.
Psoriasis remission looks different for everyone.
While we want our remission periods to last longer, we have to remember we live with an incurable disease. My advice for keeping remission is to keep your routine and keep stress at bay - that includes stress about relapse.
Focus on the activities that make you feel present. Do what makes you happy and have your attention pulled elsewhere. Have fun, and eat healthily. Work towards being present in your remission.
Most importantly, stay in contact with your caregivers and doctors. They will help you with not only your physical symptoms but your emotional ones too. They love you and support you in all seasons of your skin. When it comes to remission, I encourage you to stay hydrated, stay calm, and enjoy the moments of relief while you can.
Does your psoriasis management change with the seasons?