They say looking good is the best revenge, so why not get back at your psoriatic arthritis? Though you may be concerned over the ways psoriatic arthritis affects your appearance, there are ways to camouflage problem areas and enhance your looks and your self-esteem.
Because most people with psoriatic arthritis also have the scaly skin patches that come from psoriasis, you may find both your skin and your joints look different.
Psoriatic arthritis affects your joints, causing them to become swollen and inflamed. Fingers and toes may swell, taking on a sausage-like shape. Adults with psoriatic arthritis also can have separation of the nail from the nail bed and the nail may become pitted. Some people with psoriatic arthritis may develop spondylitis, an inflammation of the spine, which can cause stooping or slouching. In severe cases of psoriatic arthritis, joint damage can be permanent and disfiguring.
For many people with psoriasis, the embarrassment they feel over how their skin looks is as bad as the discomfort from the disease itself. Worrying about how people will react to their appearance can put a damper on even the most enjoyable occasions, from trips to the beach to romantic weekend getaways. Using cosmetic cover-ups can help, especially in summer.
"In the summer, patients are often embarrassed by their psoriasis," says Mark Lebwohl, MD, professor and chairman of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University. "They don't want to be exposed with their plaques visible to the world."
Psoriatic arthritis can take a further toll on your body image if your joints are swollen and red. If the pain and stiffness have made it hard to exercise, you may be struggling to control your weight as well.
If psoriatic arthritis has you feeling down, you may not feel like investing the time in camouflage and cosmetic cover-ups. But, it turns out mom was right when she said looking good will help you feel better. And, when you feel better emotionally, you may even find that your psoriatic arthritis symptoms improve.