“My Psoriasis Is My Super Power!”

Brenna Smith Psoriasis
Kelsey Foster Photography
By Lindsay Bosslett

One of Brenna Smith’s earliest memories after developing psoriasis was sitting on a bus. “I remember the children behind me started to laugh,” the now-31-year-old Dallas resident recalls. “I turned to join in on the fun, and realized the kids were standing over me. It turns out that the psoriasis patches on my face and head were a reason to feel ashamed and depressed,” …or so she thought.

Fast-forward to today, and now Brenna, who has appeared on MSN and in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal to discuss her views on women in the workplace—she is founder and CEO of the online sensation SheNOW, a magazine for professional women—will tell you she’s thankful for the lessons learned from psoriasis.

“Psoriasis can’t send me into hiding. I’m on radio shows, I speak at conferences, I travel all over. Life is an adventure and I plan to experience every moment I can!”  
Luckily for Brenna, she began treatment right away—although it was only the start of her journey to find what would manage her flares.

“Everyone is different, so what works for one person might not necessarily work for the next,” Brenna says. “Keep trying and be patient. Something out there will give you relief.”

No doubt, Brenna gets the most out of life, and here she shares some tips that can help you do the same! 

Turn a negative to a positive.

“In elementary school, I used to tell people [my psoriasis] was my super power,” Brenna jokes. “Since my skin cells reproduce more quickly than others’, if I get cut on one of my patched areas, I actually heal faster!” 

Why this helps: Adopting a positive outlook can help in all facets of your life by fending off depression, fighting feelings of “helplessness” about your condition and even lengthening your life.

Look for other allergies.

“I discovered that I have allergies to certain foods, particularly tropical fruits,” Brenna says. “Wouldn’t you know it, once I took those offending foods out of my diet, not only did I feel better overall, but my psoriasis improved!”

Why this helps: While there is no “diet” for psoriasis, scientists suspect that food allergies and psoriasis may be linked, since they are both autoimmune responses. 

Stay active.

“Throughout the day, I try to sit only for an hour before getting up and doing other things for 15 minutes,” says Brenna. “I also work out at least three times a week.”

Why this helps: Research shows that people who exercise regularly experience 25%-30% fewer psoriasis flares, perhaps because of its anti-inflammatory effects or its ability to zap stress and anxiety, both of which are known risk factors for triggering flares. 

Have a story to share? We’d love to hear it! Email us your advice for coping with psoriasis at: Guides@healthmonitor.com

Published September 2013 

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