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No, Psoriasis Is Not 'Just A Rash'

From work to relationships, living with psoriasis can affect someone’s life in more ways than one. 

“Oh, it’s nothing. Just put some lotion on it.” 

“It looks like dry skin. I think you’re fine.”

How many times have people said this about your psoriasis? If it’s more than one time, it’s too many. We have heard from you on Facebook that acquaintances and friends sometimes try to minimize the disease by saying “it is only a skin condition,” while people living with it know there is more to psoriasis than what meets the eye. In fact, raise your hand if it feels like a one-two punch every time someone tries to downplay your psoriasis…

Why psoriasis is not ‘just flaky skin’

If you are living with psoriasis, you may know the physical symptoms:

  • The itching, burning or soreness that you feel on your skin1
  • The pain from the cracks and bleeding from itching2
  • The red patches of inflamed skin covered with scales, or plaques3

You also know it is much more than that. It is the other aspects of psoriasis that can be just as difficult to deal with. For example, comorbidities, also known as diseases or conditions that occur simultaneously with others. Some common comorbidities of psoriasis include:4,5,6  

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Heart disease

Let’s pause right there. Comorbidities can be an upsetting possibility for someone living with psoriasis – but the link between psoriasis and comorbidities is complex. You should never hesitate to speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have regarding psoriasis and comorbidities.

And finally, psoriasis can detract from the quality of life you are leading. The impact of psoriasis on work, relationships, and even staying active are common discussions on Skin to live in. Beyond this, studies have shown the following for those living with psoriasis:7,8,9

  • 75% feel unattractive
  • 31% have financial distress
  • 8% are restricted to working at home (and not in an office) 

Does psoriasis impact your quality of life? If you are curious about this, consider taking a DLQI test. The 2016 WHO Report on Psoriasis also outlines, in detail, some of the quality of life challenges and mental health issues commonly associated with psoriasis in an effort to raise global awareness.

So…what do you say?

The question remains: how do you explain your psoriasis when people downplay the disease? It’s a challenging question to answer, and everyone’s response will be different. Merritt Ward, one of our Skin to live in contributors, says it is best not to withdraw. Be truthful to those who bring up your skin condition. “I am open and honest about my psoriasis experience,” she explains. Merritt also believes that having a positive disposition helps when replying to people about her psoriasis. She suggests sharing something like, “I know you think that it’s only on the surface, but believe it or not, it’s a lot more than that. Let me explain…” 

What can you do moving forward?

Unfortunately, some people living with psoriasis share a tough road of trying to manage their skin condition. It’s like getting knocked down after that one-two punch, but it’s important to always get back up. Be persistent. Continue having those important conversations with your dermatologist (we’ve even jotted down a few important questions that may help you get the most out of your next visit). Be prepared. Ask for more – and look ahead towards a better outcome. Continue to educate those around you. And if they don’t listen and someone says to you that psoriasis is ‘just a rash,’ feel free to give ‘em the one-two punch…Kidding.

 

1. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) website. "Skin Allergy Overview." Accessed July 2016. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/skin-allergy.aspx

2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) website. "Skin Allergy Overview." Accessed July 2016. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/skin-allergy.aspx

3. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) website. "Skin Allergy Overview." Accessed July 2016. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/skin-allergy.aspx

4. Farley E et al. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Feb;146(1):9-15.

5. Abuabara K et al. Br J Dermatol. 2010 Sep;163(3):586-92.

6. Gelfand JM et al. Arch Dermatol. 2007 Dec;143(12):1493-9.

7. Krueger G, Arch Dermatol 2001;137:280-284

8. Rapp SR et al. JAAD1999;41 (3 Pt 1):401-7

9. Farley E et al. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Feb;146(1):9-15. 

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