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There is so much to think about when you have psoriasis… such as the itching, the flaking, what to wear, and the list goes on. I am in the process of starting a new job and how to deal with my psoriasis around new colleagues and a new working environment are things that are starting to worry me.
Starting a new job can be nerve-wrecking, and dealing with psoriasis on top of that can add stress to the situation. My biggest concerns are having extreme urges to scratch my skin and my intense skin flaking, particularly around new people. I worry about leaving a flaky trail everywhere, especially when I have a black desk chair and the office carpet is black too!
These are some of the things I have thought about whilst in the process of starting my new job.
Be openI think it’s a good idea to be honest and talk to your colleagues about your psoriasis. But that is of course, easier said than done. It can be hard talking to new faces about your skin condition, especially when it’s with people you are just starting to get to know and you are not yet comfortable with.
Pick your moment when is right for youDifferent things and situations may influence how and when you tell the people you work with about your skin condition, such as the time of year, how severe your psoriasis is and how comfortable and open you are about your condition. If you’re starting a new job during the colder months of the year, then you are probably less in a rush to open to your colleague in comparison to the summer months when your skin is more likely to be a show.
But pick the right time for you. You may prefer to have a one-to-one meeting with a colleague and plan out how you are going to tell them in advance, or you may just prefer to let it slip in conversation whenever it happens, without even thinking into it. Do what suits you.
Only tell them as much as you want to tell themEven though you want to be open about your skin condition, you decide how much you want to say about it.
It’s a good opportunity to educate your colleagues about your skin condition and help with their understanding. It is especially important to be open if your psoriasis impacts your mental health, perhaps talk to your HR department so that they are aware and can be supportive and understanding of your situation.
Use it as an opportunity to educate your colleaguesI work in clinical research, so in a way I am lucky that the people I work with are fairly knowledgeable in science and health. So when I do tend to talk about my psoriasis in the workplace, they’re understanding and are aware of my skin condition. But if that’s not the case for you, use the opportunity to educate others about your psoriasis and the impact the condition has on you.
MoisturisingRemember it’s important to keep moisturising your skin, so I tend to keep pocket-size moisturisers on my desk/in my desk drawers and in my work bag, so that they are at hand at all times. I’ll even go to the washroom and apply my moisturisers if I am going through a stubborn flare up.
ClothingI guess this point may not apply if you are working somewhere where you have to wear a set uniform, but wear clothes that you will be comfortable in. Especially if you have long days and you find your skin often gets irritated, wear clothing that will minimise irritation.
These are just some of the tips I’ve picked up a long the way. I hope they help you if you find yourself coming across a similar situation.
MAT-31829 January 2020
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.