Impact on Emotions

Women struggle more with the emotional and social effects of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, according to a National Psoriasis Foundation report. The report showed that psoriasis looms over the everyday lives of about 20 percent of women, compared to 12 percent of men. Nearly 60 percent of women said psoriasis interferes with their quality of life.

"The pressure is so intense on women to appear attractive to others. So much of our capital in the world is based on our appearance," said Wendy Chapkis, director of the women and gender studies program at the University of Southern Maine and author of "Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance. "That's not just an emotional reality—that's a material reality."

Dealing with psoriasis can be particularly hard on young women, according to Dr. Julie Nelligan, a Portland, Ore., psychologist who specializes in the emotional impact of chronic diseases.

"People under 40 are looking for their social group, their career, their mate," said Nelligan. "It's very important how other people perceive them. If their psoriasis is in a place that makes them uncomfortable, that can impair their confidence and ability to form the key relationships and activities that are the foundation for their lives."

Men and women with psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing depression. However, finding a treatment that works for you can have a positive impact on your mental health, said Dr. Jerry Bagel, a dermatologist at Columbia University. Read more about how to manage depression and psoriatic diseases.

Learn more about the social toll psoriasis takes on women more about the social toll of psoriasis on women »