All the Mean Questions About Psoriasis and How to Respond to Them
Last updated: June 2023
If you’ve been diagnosed for a while now, I know you have your fair share of experiences about other people’s reactions when you bring up your condition for the first time. If you're tired of the rude stares, unwanted comments, and our very favorite, unsolicited advice - then this article is for you.
Facing the uncomfortable music
We all know when someone is looking at our skin, as unconscious as one may try to be, our bodies at this point can simply sense it. In this article, allow me to share (and debunk) most of the questions and misconceptions that are thrown at me whenever I share my illness with others. Together with this, let me also share the best way to respond to them.
"Is it contagious?”
When my patches started appearing and when I was visibly sick, I heard a friend say, “I don’t want to catch your disease.” Although I managed to laugh and shrug it off, personally, I was deeply offended and I have tried my best to hide my patches ever since.
But after being asked by a bunch of people for a few years now, I have learned the perfect response. I tell them, “It’s an autoimmune disease. No, it’s not contagious, and you will not catch it even if you hug me. It’s genetically acquired and it’s usually triggered by stress and other environmental factors.”
To be honest, the so-called friends who stay away from you because of your psoriasis are not your friends, after all. You’re better off without them, so carry on!
"You have psoriasis because you're too lazy to take a bath.”
Yes, yes. I know you’ve heard this line a thousand times, too. And it’s even as offensive as being asked if you’re contagious.
Really, there’s no better way to handle the situation than just by telling them that psoriasis is not a hygiene problem. In fact, psoriatic patients tend to take longer baths than others because we have so many different products for our skin!
“What are you complaining about? No one has ever died because of skin disease before.”
What people often fail to understand is that psoriasis affects more than just physical looks. It’s more than just wanting to scratch your skin off and hating on your red patches.
It involves the risk of developing other health conditions. It’s having to deal with depression and anxiety. It’s not being able to sleep at night wondering if you’re ever going to get your life back again, if you’re ever going to be good enough for someone, even for yourself. In addition, it's spending your whole life contemplating if you’re a burden or a liability to the people that you love (and no, you are not).
“Just use Head and Shoulders and shampoo your hair regularly!"
No, my dry scalp and my dandruff cannot just be easily cured by a regular shampoo that’s available in the market. No, no amount of combing will remove all of the flakes. Yes, I leave traces of me everywhere and I am sorry!
Sometimes, it makes me conscious when people stare at my hair. Sometimes, I try my best to not pay attention. But when I see them staring for a long time, I’d calmly explain my condition instead.
Wait - there's more!
Facing these types of uncomfortable situations is all a part of life with psoriasis. This plays such a large part in our lives, in fact, that I needed to break down this topic into two articles!
In the meantime, feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments below. This is a community where we can all learn from each other.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?