“Learning to love yourself and learning to love your body is like a whole journey that every person, but more specifically, women, have to go through.”
Lyrics from “My Skin” — Lizzo
If you have psoriasis, you’re familiar with the daily work of learning to love your body. The nagging pain and itching can cause you to feel uncomfortable in your skin. Worse, psoriasis can change the way you feel about yourself every time you look in the mirror.
The Grammy-award winning singer, rapper, and songwriter Lizzo understands this isolating feeling of body dysmorphia. As a result, she has made sharing her personal challenges overcoming body image issues a central part of her social mission.
“I don’t think that loving yourself is a choice,” she revealed in an interview with NBC News. “I think that it’s a decision that has to be made for survival; it was in my case.”
Here are four lessons to help you follow in Queen Lizzo’s footsteps as you learn to live with—and accept—your psoriasis diagnosis.
1. Your Physical Appearance Can Affect Your Mental Health, but the Reverse Is Also True
Psoriasis can affect your self-worth and self-image in a big way.
“It is very common for patients to experience social-emotional challenges,” says Tracee Blackburn, PA-C, who practices clinical dermatology and is the Director at Large for the Illinois Society of Dermatology of Physician Assistants (ISDPA). “Because of the constant joint pain or the inflamed plaques on the skin, patients can experience social anxiety and feelings of embarrassment, and become more withdrawn from day-to-day activities.”
However, Lizzo has advice on how to manage. “Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you,” she writes in her famous song “Good As Hell.”
If you feel depressed or anxious because of your psoriasis, don’t suffer in silence—you are not alone, says Blackburn. Talking to a mental health provider can help you feel better internally, which can make you feel better in your own skin.
2. Self-Care Is Your Most Important Responsibility
Psoriasis can make you feel like you are an outsider. Lizzo reminds us that self-care is anchored in self-preservation.
“We have to start being more honest with what we need, and what we deserve, and start serving that to ourselves,” she has written in an interview that she shared with her social media followers. By surrounding yourself with what you need, instead of giving in to the temptation to become invisible, you can practice true self-care.
“With psoriasis, there are good days and bad days,” says Blackburn. “I would recommend that patients speak up, talk to their provider, and say ‘I’m not okay.’”
3. Your Outlook Is Your Choice, and Acceptance Is Key
If you feel like psoriasis is taking over your life, it is important to take accountability for how your mind can control how you feel and react, says Blackburn. “Being comfortable in your skin starts from within.”
Are you letting psoriasis take over your life by focusing on your misery instead of turning outward? While you may be preoccupied with embarrassment about changes in your skin, you may be missing the other, less visible challenges that people around you are facing.
“I finally realized that owning up to your vulnerabilities is a form of strength,” Lizzo said during an NBC interview. Accepting that psoriasis is part of your life can give you the freedom to start living fully.
4. Society’s Expectations of “Beauty” Are Deeply Flawed
Lizzo has spent her career busting society’s beauty expectations. More than once, she has answered to people who have critiqued her for posting images to social media that show her body in its most truthful way—unedited and unapologetic.
When you suffer from psoriasis, every flare-up can feel like its own special agony. But, instead of feeling like you need to hide yourself away, Lizzo reminds her social media followers that they are all goddesses—not in spite of their physical appearance, but because of it.
“Crazy, sexy, cool baby // With or without makeup”
Lyrics from “Like a Girl” — Lizzo