10 Women Living With Psoriasis Share Their Confidence-Boosting Tips

Living with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease, “is a roller coaster,” Tikeyah, a 30-year-old woman with psoriasis, told Glamour. The unpredictable skin condition causes inflammation in the body that sometimes shows up as red patches with silvery scales on top—frequently on the knees, elbows, and scalp, though they can appear anywhere.

But Tikeyah has found ways to feel confident while living with psoriasis—and so have millions of women like her, no matter what their skin looks and feels like on any given day. Scroll down for their tips.

Wear loose-fitting clothes—or nothing

Psoriasis can feel debilitating at times. To make myself more comfortable, I try to wear cotton, loose-fitting clothes whenever I’m home, and I opt out of wearing underwear whenever possible. When nothing is rubbing against my inflamed skin, I feel more confident and relaxed, and I can spend more quality time with my family. —Masha, 30, California

Just spit out the P-word

From my experience, most people react negatively to my skin condition because they’re afraid it’s contagious. I won’t go around telling everyone that I have psoriasis. But when my flare-ups are visible at work, I let my company know. It may sound weird, but getting it out of the way upfront usually saves me a lot of trouble—and a lot of worried side glances or carefully crafted questions—later on. It may be frustrating, but I remind myself that people are hardwired to shrink away from things that they aren’t familiar with. —Jill, 50, British Columbia

Take time to be kind to yourself

Take your experience and make the best of it. I don’t mean to come off as blasé: I understand the struggle—both internally and externally—that people go through with psoriasis. But when you get through the muck of it, take time to be kind to yourself. No matter what you look like or feel like, this is your body—and it’s your only one. Learn to love yourself. Find ways to reach deep down and build that relationship with yourself. If you feel negatively, it’s OK to get help. I did and still do. It’s a constant struggle but it’s very worth loving yourself. —Brittany, 35, New York

Be upfront at the salon

One of the frequent, potentially embarrassing situations I used to run into was hair appointments. I would always cringe when I first sat down in the chair because I have dry, flaky patches on my scalp. Now, I tell anyone who is going to come into contact with my scalp—whether for a scalp massage or shampooing—that I have this condition, I was born with it, and that it won’t harm them in any way. I think the more we can own who we are, the better we can feel about ourselves. —Sarah, 37, California

Spray on sun-kissed color

For special occasions, I like to splurge on a professional spray tan. There is something about golden, sun-kissed skin that brings on that extra boost of confidence for summer weddings and celebrations. —Bianca, 34, California

Control what you can

Living with psoriasis is a roller coaster. But you can build confidence by taking control however you can—whether that’s picking outfits that make you feel pretty, or changing your hairstyle if you have scalp psoriasis. Whatever it is, do it. Psoriasis is an unpredictable autoimmune disease, so it’s easy to feel like it’s controlling your every move. But finding ways to take control of what parts of my skin I choose to show has proven to be so helpful for me. —Tikeyah, 27, Georgia

Find a gentle concealer

If you have a job interview or a social occasion that calls for an outfit that will reveal a flare-up, try using a natural concealer without fragrances or alcohol to minimize any redness. I like to use concealers that have jojoba seed oil to reduce inflammation and redness on my legs. —Kristin, 40, New York

Repeat a confidence-boosting mantra

Find a personal mantra that supports how you’d like to feel, then practice it until you find peace and feel confident. I write my mantra on my bathroom mirror so I can see it. You begin to love the skin you’re in by accepting yourself in a positive light. —Patrice, 34, North Carolina

Find a swimsuit that makes you feel comfortable

Recently, my family moved to the beach permanently and it’s taken some getting used to—my psoriasis gets in the way of me feeling comfortable. Teeny bikinis are on-trend, but they’re not for me. Buy a bathing suit that you feel most comfortable in. It’s important to feel your best when you are at the beach, and a less-revealing bathing suit makes me feel more confident. —Caitlyn, 20, North Carolina

Choose bright colors and smooth fabrics

I avoid black shirts. I have psoriasis on my scalp, so flakes are going to stand out on a black shirt. I stick to bright colors and patterns, and fabrics like satin or silk, where you can just flick off any flakes that fall down. —Erin, 27, Ohio

*Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

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