Painting, a therapy for psoriasis

therapy for psoriasis, painting

We regularly provide you our advices to fight psoriasis. Here is some food for thought to act on one of the major causes of psoriasis: stress. Discover how some patients have become recognized artists, by externalizing their stress and transforming it into positive energy.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin disease that affects the entire body. Skin suffering from psoriasis interprets any contact as an attack and defends itself by overproducing epidermal cells: scales.

These lesions can be very apparent and cause certain discriminations. Psoriasis can therefore have an impact on the quality of life of patients, with psychological repercussions. In fact, difficulties in accepting oneself can be significant. In addition, prejudices and the way others see them are also harmful. Painters McWillie Chambers, Haze Long and Natalie Fletcher have spoken out about this emotional burden.


McWillie Chambers – Psoriatic Self-Portraittreat psoriasis with paint

McWillie Chambers is an American painter. In this interview conducted by Darwin Cyphers Manning in July 2009, the artist discusses the difficulties linked to his psoriasis (1). He applied tip No. 9 that we list in the 10 tips against psoriasis : “Share you will know”.

The McWillie Chambers interview

DCM: Looking back on your career as an artist, do you remember a challenge that you took on while following your vision?

McWC: Actually, one of the biggest challenges in my life is the fact that I suffer from an autoimmune disease, psoriasis. Writer John Updike also had psoriasis and wrote this incredible essay about the disease: At War with my Skin. He perfectly captured the emotional consequences and life changes linked to this illness. The title expresses it completely. The patient suffers from uncomfortable and painful lesions on the skin that come and go at any time. Psoriasis disease cannot be cured, you have to learn to live with it. And above all, finding the treatment that will relieve psoriasis plaques or drops is essential!

Psoriasis and feelings of isolation

Many people develop psychological problems like agoraphobia. Going out in public becomes difficult, as does having a normal life. There is always something wrong with you…and your “outer shell”. This protective barrier that is the skin that people unconsciously rely on is faulty. Psoriasis is an isolating disease. I realize that these men I have painted over the last 20 years are a real search for compassion.

Break loneliness with painting

The paints neutralize the feeling of isolation, which is too often linked to psoriasis. We learn to rely on inner resources to meet challenges. Artists know how to dig deep to find their inner resources. In a way, I think my paintings helped me cope. In fact, becoming an artist means having constant and exciting activity every day. She helped me deal with psoriasis. It also helped me develop.


painting to help people suffering from psoriasisHaze Long – Psoriasis charity painting

This painter created a work for the Melaka hospital (2). She interviewed three psoriasis patients to understand what they thought about their disease. Through her painting, she delivers her interpretation of their lives and their trials.

The work represents the experience of an open eye, looking inward. Haze Long wanted to aesthetically represent the appearance of the disease, the skin affected by scales. The portrait painted on a coarse texture means that the real soul is hidden there. The illness does not define the sick, who they are.

“I think most of us can identify the disease. It is a skin disease that leaves it dotted with scabs and scars. The dander flakes with every step you take. They literally clutter the environment around you. "Those who have had chickenpox will remember the shock of seeing their skin turn monstrous and having to accept that it is their skin and not someone else's."

One of the methods to hide your skin is to cover it with clothes.  But be careful, not just any materials, since certain materials can be aggressive to the epidermis and cause psoriasis outbreaks.


Charity painting for psoriasisNovartis & Natalie Fletcher – Body painting

This Laboratory, inspired by the WHO report and in partnership with 25 patient associations around the world, carried out a large survey of 8 patients suffering from psoriasis in 300 different countries. This is, to date, the largest survey carried out on psoriasis.

To highlight the figures collected and the testimonies, and thus make more people aware of this still little-known disease, Novartis decided to put them on display. For this, they called on Natalie Fletcher, an American body painter. Thus, she transcribed the results, the experiences of the patients, using their bodies as a canvas.


Painting and social action

The artist paints for many associations and for films. She also produces advertisements. Natalie is known and respected in this artistic community. On the other hand, this project has a very special resonance for her. In fact, she herself suffers from psoriasis. To paint psoriatic bodies, she draws inspiration from her own experiences, dreams and situations of those interviewed for the investigation. In addition, she is a fan of meditation.


Psoriasis and painting: treating the disease through pictorial art

Suffering in a few testimonies

Recurring thought about how disgusted others are: “No matter how many times I told my daughter that psoriasis is not contagious. She doesn't allow me to hug her”.

Foot psoriasis: “At its worst, the cracking on my feet is so bad that I can only limp around. Just walking is extremely painful. Let me take one step without pain.”

pictorial art and psoriasis

Suffering through the eyes of others is often mentioned: “I dream of being able to go to the beach in a bikini and look magnificent. Instead, I get disgusted looks from everyone.”

Overall, she says: “Having psoriasis is a nightmare”.

Psoriasis sometimes leads to depression: “I was admitted to a psychiatric ward because my psoriasis was at its worst. It covered almost my entire body. I felt like I was living in hell. Now I want to love myself again”.



1 McWillie Chambers,
2 Haze Long
3 Novartis, Body painter captures anguish of those who suffer from psoriasis,


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Sport & psoriasis

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Psoriasis and pregnancy

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Obesity and psoriasis

Psoriasis and confinement

Heredity and psoriasis

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