Multiple pointing hands and arms pointing at a woman with plaques on her back.

Fighting Psoriasis Stigma

How often have you heard someone who is suffering from psoriasis say:

"I wish people would just not treat me like an outcast. Do people not know that what we have is not contagious? Why am I being ostracized? I am so sick and tired of people approaching me about my skin and asking me questions.

People are always giving me these silly ideas of what to try for my skin as if they do think I have already tried everything. It is not just dry skin, I wish people would understand and learn more about our condition."

No doubt you can relate on one level or another. But do you see what is happening? We want people to understand, help, be there, and to accept us as we are. Yet we can be unapproachable and often times rude. We don’t want to talk about our condition. It doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Accepting stigma & looking different

Now, I know all too well how it feels to have people treat you differently and just be downright mean. I have been approached by strangers and children with questions and concerns asking if what I have is contagious.

A lot of effort when into switching my mindset about this. Despite how much things have changed, there are so many people who have not even heard of psoriasis. So how would they know anything about it? Let alone, if it is contagious or not.

I changed how I dealt with these people, I could get myself all riled up and be pretty curt about it all. Instead, I chose to change that. You see I know that when my skin is at its worst, it can look pretty scary, and while I am okay with that, I have accepted that others might be unsure of how to deal with it.

How to handle comments about psoriasis

So now the thing is, how can we handle this without being rude? How do we avoid frightening people from ever wanting to approach or try and help someone again? Honestly, I find that being patient and kind is the way to deal with this.

Be it strangers or people I know, people who have walked this path me or people who I have just met. I listen to the suggestions and I allow them to ask questions and express their concerns. It truly does me NO harm to listen to their suggestions and respond gently with gratitude. More importantly, I am actually grateful.

I am grateful that they took the time to look up something, that they put the effort into calling someone they know. Researching options and finding resources to relay to me. This really shows me how people care.

Fighting psoriasis stigma at a young age

Children are raw and unfiltered. They say what they think and this can often come across as rude. It is probably not meant that way. My daughter has dealt with a lot of people telling her my skin is gross, dirty, and sick. It has upset her more times than I care to count. 

Now we have a routine. She'll relay to me who made the comment and over the next few days, I will make a point of approaching that child. I'll ask them if they are curious as to why my skin looks the way it does. Sometimes they even want to touch it. Touching is often met with an "ewww, gross".

You guys, I used to take this so personally, it is not meant to be that way. It is just that that is how they feel at that moment. Honestly, I often feel that way about my own skin.

Over everything, find gratitude

All in all my thoughts on this are that the people who are trying to help us should be given a little more credit. Despite having heard this a hundred times, just say thank you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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