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5 Hacks for Surviving University with a Skin Condition

Skin conditions are no joke, especially as a university student. Check out our 5 life hacks for dealing with school…and your skin.

Entering university comes with a ton of excitement and sometimes, a lot of baggage. Heavy course loads, making new friends, living in a strange place…it can be overwhelming even for the most prepared. But entering university with a chronic skin condition? It can sometimes feel like your course load is doubled…and let’s face it, no matter how much you love learning, no one wants twice as much work!

The most important thing to remember is that your skin condition can be managed, and it doesn’t have to impact the rest of your time at university. Here are our 5 hacks for dealing with the stresses and difficult conversations that arise from having a skin condition at university:

Bring your friends into the mix when it feels comfortable to you

People make friends fast in college. The sheer amount of time you spend with other students allows friendships to form quickly and deeply. But meeting new people when you have a skin condition can sometimes feel like there’s an elephant in the room. When you feel the time is right, why not consider addressing that elephant? Sometimes talking about it, explaining what you’re dealing with, and offering your friends additional resources if they have questions can open up a whole new world of support.1 But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to. The decision to share or not share is a deeply personal one, and should be made based on how comfortable you are. Plenty of people rely on their friends for advice on one topic, and not another! Use your university support system in a way that makes your time at university better.

Don’t forget your go-to support network

Regardless of the friends you make at university, you probably have a great support system of friends and family back home. Don’t forget about them! With so much going on, it could be easy to skip that weekly call home, or to forget about the video chat you had planned with a primary school friend. Always remember that these people know you best and have supported you for years, and if you’re getting a little bit stressed out, they’ll understand you better than most.

Remember that you’re part of a bigger community

Did you know that up to 2-3% of the world’s population suffers from psoriasis, and up to 1% of people suffer from Chronic Urticaria?2,4,5There are millions of other people dealing with these difficult skin conditions in addition to yourself. No matter how difficult or stressful it may feel in the moment, it can be really helpful to step back, remember that you’re part of a community of people, and even reach out to them for additional support. Our Facebook pages (PsO and CSU), Twitter channel and Instagram feed are a great place to start.

Remember why you’re there

You’re at university! Maybe your university has a fantastic science department, or an out of this world theater group, so whatever your reasons for attending, it helps to remember them, focus on them, and to get out there and experience them for yourself. This is a truly wonderful time in your life, and remembering that can help you cope with your skin condition. Keep a list of cool things available to you at your school, and when you’re having an off day, go check out (and check off) one of the items on your list! It can help to give you perspective and turn a bad day into a good one.

Be confident and most importantly…have fun!

Whether you’re experiencing symptoms from your skin condition or not, remember that there is so much more to you than those symptoms. Be proud of what got you into university, be excited about all of the experiences you’re going to have, and feel free to get out there and have a little fun. Join social groups such as sports teams or debate clubs. Sometimes you just need to take your mind off of things, and when you come back to your stresses, they don’t seem like such a big deal.

Transitioning to university (or going back for a new year) is definitely stressful, but can be managed with smart planning. The same can be said for going to university with a skin condition. Use some of the above advice to help ensure that your skin condition isn’t getting in the way of you enjoying this wonderful time. Have other tips and tricks you want to share? Tweet at us, or post to our Facebook page for Psoriasis or CSU!

  1. Psoriasis and Relationships (Life with psoriasis: Relationships). https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/relationships 
  2. Nestle FO et al. N Engl J Med 2009; 361(5):496-509.Brezinski EA, Armstrong AW. PLoS ONE 7(4):e33486.
  3. Brezinski EA, Armstrong AW. PLoS ONE 7(4):e33486. Website: http://www.skintolivein.com/research-in-dermatology/psoriasis-understanding-the-issues/who-is-affected-by-psoriasis/
  4. Maurer M et al. Allergy 2011; 66:317-30.
  5. Zuberbier T, Maurer M. Acta Derm Venereol 2007; 87(3):196-205. Website: http://www.skintolivein.com/research-in-dermatology/csu-understanding-the-issues/the-scale-of-the-problem

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