Updated: Jul 4
As summer ramps up, most people look forward to spending time outside in the sunshine. But if you have a chronic skin condition, you might find yourself dreading summer, because it’s the season when it gets harder to hide your skin from the world.
Although these feelings can be challenging, it’s important to know that you can move through them, and find your way to enjoying summer again. It all starts with your mindset.
The challenges of summer for people with chronic skin conditions
During my teen and young adult years, when I was absolutely obsessed with hiding my alopecia from the world, I know how much I used to dread summer. People would invite me to the pool, and I’d be terrified to go, because I just couldn’t be seen without my wig. What should have been a simple pleasure instead became a nightmare.
Many people with conditions like psoriasis and eczema hide their skin all winter, when it’s easy to cover up. A flare-up of their condition doesn’t feel like such a big deal, because no one will see. In summer, a flare-up will be visible to everyone. This can bring up a lot of negative self-talk, and causes some people to wear clothes that aren’t comfortable for the weather (like long sleeves when it’s 90 degrees out), or to avoid going to outdoor events so that they won’t have to reveal their skin.
Focus on the positives of summer
Remember when you were a kid, and you absolutely loved summer? Basically all kids absolutely revel in the delights of summer – being outside playing, eating delicious foods, and having all kinds of fun.
When you find yourself starting to dread summer or thinking about all the negatives of this season, it may help to refocus your thoughts on the positive things about this season. Remember the things you used to love when you were a kid, and call to mind that pure joy you felt. You may also be able to recall memories of enjoying summer from more recent times. Allow yourself to bring up those memories as vividly as you can, and really let yourself soak them in.
Remind yourself that you don’t want to let your skin condition take this pleasure away from you. Remembering how great summer feels will help you to realize that the positives outweigh the negatives.
The pleasure of being authentic
When you’re outside in summer, it’s a lot harder to hide. Although it can be stressful at first, this can actually be a great thing. It’s an opportunity to experience the pleasure of being authentic.
If you haven’t already discovered the freedom of showing up in the world as your true authentic self, I hope that you’ll give it a try. There’s an absolute bliss in truly being yourself, without trying to hide anything. I was honestly terrified to even consider being truly seen for so many years, but when I finally decided to be brave and give it a try, I found out how much better I felt. My fears of being rejected and unloved were totally unfounded. I’d been holding onto a ton of stress and anxiety for all those years, for no reason at all.
Remind yourself that you’re worthy of love. Your skin does not define you. You don’t have to hide parts of yourself in order to earn the approval of others. The people who care about you don’t care about you because of how your skin looks – they care about how you treat others, your interests and talents and passions, how you show up for those who need you.
Give yourself the gift of freedom
This summer, when you have an opportunity to do something fun (like go to the pool or the beach) and you feel your anxiety rising because people will see your skin condition, I invite you to take a pause. Consider the thoughts that are arising, such as, “No one will love me when they see my skin like this.” Ask yourself, “Is that true?” It almost never is – people don’t love you for your skin, they love you for who you are. Then remind yourself that you’re not going to let your skin condition take summer away from you.
I know that, while this may sound simple, it can actually be challenging. It can be very helpful to have support from a professional, and from others who are on a similar journey. This is something that we focus on a lot inside Mind Gut Skin Academy, and the brand new version of the program will be opening its doors soon. Head over here now to get on the waitlist, so you can get a spot when it opens up.
Try taking a risk, and showing up for summer fun without hiding anything. The freedom that you’ll discover is truly satisfying.