Huy Ngo of Denver, CO and Shanell Crawforth of Lenexa, KS share the strategies that help them outshine their psoriasis.
— BY JOANA MANGUNE
“The dryness and skin buildup during a flare can be very painful and itchy. To avoid scratching myself, I generally remove the scales by gently scrubbing with a lava pumice stone after soaking in the tub, then moisturizing.”
“I’ve accepted my psoriasis, but I won’t let it define me. In the beginning, I used to cover it up and was very self-conscious. But as time went on, I realized I was projecting my feelings of self-consciousness onto other people. It was my choice to live in the shadows. Now my choice is to live in the light and not look back.”
Steer clear of…
Miracle cures! “The one thing I avoid like the plague are so-called ‘miracle cures’ — it seems there are lots of ‘snake oils’ out there promising to cure psoriasis. Instead, I believe in trusting yourself and learning as much as you can about psoriasis. I’ve been on a biologic because it works best for me. Everybody is different and will react differently to various treatments.”
“The urge to scratch is a matter of not letting psoriasis be the focus of your daily life. It can live very happily in the back of your mind.”
“My strength comes from my wife and my one-year-old son. My wife has been the biggest contributing factor in my self-confidence for the last 13 years, and my son will be my motivation going forward — I plan to teach him not to view others with any form of disease for what they have, but to take the time to know them for who they are.”
Shanell’s favorite balm for soothing flares: castor oil mixed with tea tree or lavender essential oil. “I massage the oil into the problem area immediately after I shower. If I don’t apply the oil on my skin right away, it gets extra dry,” says Shanell. “And if I miss a couple of days, my skin will start hurting.”
Shanell starts her skincare routine in the shower, where she pays special attention to the water and soap. “I use a filtered showerhead because the chlorine in the water irritates my skin. I’ve also switched to an olive-oil based soap that’s extra moisturizing.”
Steer clear of…
Junk food! Although researchers have yet to confirm a link between nutrition and psoriasis flares, Shanell has cleaned up her diet since her diagnosis. “I ate candy all the time before, and I was really disconnected with my body. Now, I’m focusing on eating healthy foods,” says Shanell, who has also cut wheat, sesame seeds, dairy and soy from her diet.
“For me, there are different levels of itchiness. If it’s not really intense, I can distract myself. Sometimes I just get up and go to another room.”
“Meditating helps me to be more in tune with my body’s needs. I meditate every day for 15 to 20 minutes,” says Shanell. “I like doing mantra meditation. Other times, I just put on soothing music and focus on my breathing.”