Congratulations to Holly Dillon, who was the woman with psoriasis who was questioned about her skin whilst trying to board an EasyJet flight from Faro, and who has now set up an online campaign #GetYourSkinOut. She shares photographs whilst undergoing phototherapy for her psoriasis and encourages other psoriasis sufferers to share photographs of their skin to help raise awareness and break down some of the stigma associated with the condition.
Psoriasis can have an immense psychological effect on people suffering with this condition and interestingly the degree of psoriasis does not always correlate to the degree of anxiety and concern experienced by the patient. Psoriasis, like many other dermatological conditions, are often brushed off as only being only skin deep and not serious. Comments like “it’s only cosmetic” or “it’s not going to kill you” are often bandied around with dermatological conditions. Conditions like psoriasis however do affect the patient’s lives in many different ways limiting the type of clothing they may wear or leisure activities they may pursue. Whilst the extent of psoriasis is measured by the PASI (Psoriasis Area Severity Index) which calculates the extent of surface area affected by psoriasis, dermatologists have also been monitoring for a long time the degree that this condition impacts on people’s lives by measuring the DLQI (Dermatology Life Quality Index). This 10 question survey given to the patients to fill out in private asks them how their skin has felt and how they have felt about their skin including limitations on activities of daily life over the last week.
Recent NICE guidelines have recommended that dermatologists now look out for depression in psoriasis patients by asking two screening questions and if either of these suggest any elements of depression then further questioning is required. Some psoriasis patients turn to alcohol to treat the depression associated with this condition.
There are many treatments for psoriasis which differ according to the extent and severity of the condition. If there are only a few patches of psoriasis, then topical treatment is suggested however if the psoriasis is more extensive phototherapy or oral medication may be advised. For the very severe psoriatics who have failed other forms of treatment we now have the class of drugs known as the Biologics which are injections usually self-administered by the patient which have very specific effects usually on one step in the inflammatory response associated with psoriasis.
In Holly’s case she underwent phototherapy which in many patients can have a beneficial effect. What makes a good phototherapy patient is one that has clearance of their psoriasis and then remains in remission from extended period of time. Many people with psoriasis self-medicate in this way over the summer months with gentle natural sunlight exposure however the use of commercial sunbeds is not recommended. Find out more at GetYourSkinOut.