A young Black woman stands with her hands on her head looking stressed, surrounding her are abstract representations of people giving her unwanted advice. Hurtful, gibberish, aged 20-30, female, unnecessary, unsolicited

Nope, I Have Psoriasis...Not That!

Last updated: October 2022

The past two years have been crazy. If stress is one of your biggest triggers for psoriasis, well, life may be a touch crazier. At the start of the pandemic, my psoriasis was out of control. My anxiety hit an all-time high.

The different conditions my psoriasis has been confused with.

Not only was I confused, scared, and lost in how to manage life with a global deadly virus on the loose, but when I managed to make my way out of the house, I would receive stares because of the condition of my skin. Anxiety and self-awareness overload.

Like COVID-19, the unsolicited advice and comments about my skin ran rampant. Let's take a look at some of that unhelpful and unwelcome commentary.

It's not dandruff, my friends.

If I had a dollar for every time, someone recommended a product for my scalp! I would have a lot of dollars. People who see my flakes think I have a lot of dandruff. Growing up, my mom told my sister and me that we had "growing" dandruff. As you can see, she did not fully explain psoriasis to us. 

We didn't want to be teased or made fun of. Who wants anyone to think that their hair is dirty? As a kid, this was hard because other kids would see flakes.

As I got older, people would see flakes or skin remnants on my clothes or on my scalp. They just assumed I had a dandruff issue. Explaining to others that it's not as simple as using Head & Shoulders or Apple Cider Vinegar rinses has been very interesting!

It's not ringworm either...

I swear, sometimes I think the first thing people believe I have is ringworm. On skin of color, psoriasis looks different, so there are no red scales at all. Often the appearance can resemble what looks like ringworm, impetigo, or other skin conditions. 

As a result, this can delay proper treatment if assumptions are made from appearances. People in some of the social media groups I am in talk about being misdiagnosed because of this. Some talk about using antifungal medications for days or weeks with no progress until they go to the dermatologist.

It doesn't help that psoriasis sometimes looks like other skin conditions. It also doesn't help when people who don't know about psoriasis make assumptions about what they think you have. 

Your knowledge can make a difference

It's very important to me to educate others. I would like to believe most people are not mean and don't understand. As I came to understand my psoriasis more, it became easier to address these sometimes-uncomfortable conversations. 

It's not easy, but if you ever come across a stare or a question, the knowledge you have is power. You never know if the person may even have loved ones in their lives who also have psoriasis. Have you ever experienced others trying to diagnose you? How did you handle it? I love having this community because we all get it. 

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