How to Cope With Stubborn Psoriasis Spots

Some psoriasis lesions resist treatment even when the rest of your skin is mostly clear. How do you deal with plaques that just won’t go away?

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man's torso covered with psoriasis
Even with effective treatment, some lesions may refuse to disappear.iStock

My psoriasis is stubborn. Over the years I’ve only experienced a few seasons where I didn’t have a spot or lesion on my skin. Even those moments of relief were overshadowed by worries about when my plaques would inevitably return.

I have come to accept that no matter how effective my psoriasis treatments, whatever diet or lifestyle I maintain, or however I cope, I will still have some plaques that persists.

Today my biologic treatment keeps most of my psoriasis under control. But while my hands and feet are mostly clear, small plaques on my legs and arms come and go and the psoriasis on my trunk never quite disappears.

Often, I wish it would.

Is It Possible to Get Completely Clear Skin With Psoriasis?

I’m not one to envy others. When I look at my children’s skin, I’m genuinely glad they haven’t inherited psoriasis from me. My wife has her own health concerns, so I don’t begrudge her clearer skin. But I can’t help but feel a little jealous when I hear about someone’s psoriasis going into remission.

Maybe that’s why I sometimes avoid psoriasis-related social media sites and posts. Invariably when I do go on social media, I see a post where someone claims to have cured their psoriasis. Recently someone posted a claim that eating blueberries every day cleared their skin. Another person who started on the same biologic I’m using said she found complete relief after a few months.

I can’t verify if those who post about their psoriasis experiences are truthful or not. If they are, then I’m wholeheartedly glad for them. I don’t wish psoriasis on anyone. But there’s a small part of me that wishes it could be me. I’ve tried a multitude of treatments, exercise regularly, and keep up with my skin-care regimen — why not me?

That longing for completely clear skin is about as stubborn as the psoriasis on my lower back and stomach. It never, ever goes away.

Counting My Blessings Doesn’t Entirely Work For Me

In church we sing a hymn about counting your blessings. The idea is that if you look at all the good things in your life you won’t dwell on the bad things. It sounds logical enough. Somehow, though, it doesn’t work for me. Even if I could list all the good stuff, and be grateful for it, it doesn’t make the bad stuff go away.

It’s not that I don’t greatly appreciate how the large plaques on my lower legs have faded these past few years after I started my biologic. Or how my scalp is clear of psoriasis. I smiled when my friends recently noticed that my fingernails are less pitted than before.

I do recognize the improvement, and it’s even more amazing when I think back on having 95 percent of my body covered with raging psoriasis. But those spots on my trunk that never go away still irritate me. Not only do they itch and burn during a flare, I also obsess about clearing them out.

The Cost of Treating Stubborn Psoriasis May Be Too High

I can think of ways to potentially subdue the stubborn psoriasis on my trunk, but at what cost? About fifteen years ago a new treatment, cyclosporine, needed only a few months to extinguish a fast-spreading psoriasis wildfire. But then I had to lower my dosage and, eventually, stop taking it altogether.

The cost of clear skin for me while taking this medication included high blood pressure, tingling fingertips, and possible kidney damage. Since I required brand name capsules, I paid a much higher copay for my monthly supply than I would have paid for generic. I worried continually that I would get opportunistic infections from suppressing my immune system with such strong medication.

There are pros and cons with making any change to try to clear out the remaining psoriasis. Adding additional treatments might have helped, but maybe not, and they could also bring about unwanted side effects and drug interactions. Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, or alternative treatments take time, consistency, and perseverance.

Accepting the Psoriasis That Remains

I constantly weigh the costs and benefits of making a change to hopefully achieve a full remission of my psoriasis. But I’ve come to accept that if some psoriasis remains, I can cope with it.

Knowing I am actively doing my best to treat those stubborn psoriasis plaques helps me feel a measure of control.

The “Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr helps to calm my mind when I fixate on my trunk psoriasis: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

The long standing joke between my wife and me is that I am as stubborn as my psoriasis. I wear that witty description with pride. If my psoriasis is going to persist, then so am I. That’s been my approach for managing stubborn psoriasis spots as much as it’s my attitude for all of life’s challenges.

You can read more about my experiences on my website, PsoHoward.

Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.