The Worst Comments About Psoriasis
As much as skin conditions like plaque psoriasis cause physical pain and discomfort, the emotional toll can sometimes be worse. For many, the effects of hurtful or insensitive comments linger for years.
When it comes to verbal attacks, you are not alone. Nearly everyone has dealt with the comments on some level. To learn more about your experiences, we turned to members of our Facebook community as asked: “What is the worst comment you have heard about your skin?”
More than 80 of you shared, and here is what you said.
Determining what is a helpful comment
Unfortunately, many people confuse rudeness with honesty. They believe that blurting out whatever they think is “helpful” because they are “just being honest.” But when people speak with no thought about the impact of their words, that is not helpful or kind at all.
Many of you shared that others told you point-blank that your skin looked gross or disgusting. This is nothing but mean. Some of you have learned to brush these kinds of hurtful comments off, but others still struggle with what to say in response. One way to respond is to simply say: “That is not a helpful comment.”
“Kids. Kids were always a struggle for me because they are brutally honest. I would get everything from ‘You have so many owies!’ to ‘You look gross.’”
“I was once told by a family member, ‘Chances are you'll lose that foot – it looks disgusting.”
“Oh my god, I am getting sick to my stomach. Why don’t you DO something”
Those contagious comments
Psoriasis is a frequently misunderstood condition that can cause stress and social anxiety. The social and emotional impact of psoriasis can be overwhelming to talk about.
More than a few of you shared that you had been asked if what was happening with your skin was contagious. Sadly, it seems as though most people do not wait for an answer – they just assume the worst.
“Someone asked me if it was contagious.”
“When I was 16 and tried to get a job in an ice cream parlor, the owner was interviewing me and told me that I looked contagious and would run the customers off.”
“I was walking with my son and someone asked me if it was contagious. It was so embarrassing.”
“I should cover it up.”
Lack of empathy and understanding
So much of our culture focuses on comfort. It seems as if few people can stand even an instant of discomfort. If they are not comfortable with what they see on someone else’s skin, they blame the person with the skin condition. These kinds of hurtful comments demonstrate a complete lack of empathy and understanding.
“My principal called me in to inform me that a parent had complained about my ‘open sores’ and suggested I do a better job covering them up. That was over 20 years ago.
“A man told me that it offended him and that I should cover it up. I left the room and cried. That really hurt.”
The whispered comments
Sometimes what people do not say out loud is worse than the mean comments said to your face. Many of you shared that you were whispered about – in some cases, you were even sitting right next to the people whispering about you.
It never feels good to be talked about. However, it can feel 100 times worse when you cannot hear exactly what is being said, leaving you to imagine they are saying the absolute worst.
“I sometimes would get it really bad in my hairline or on my scalp. One time, I went to get my hair cut, and the girl was rooting through my hair. Then she called over someone else while they whispered above me. It was mortifying. I did lose my temper on them and never went back.”
“Sometimes it is a comment that sets you into a cycle of depression, but most of the time it is not just that, but also a look of disgust on someone’s face along with whispers.”
No one should feel alone when facing psoriasis
People who live with psoriasis have heard it all. Unfortunately, this means that many of you have had to come up with your own ways to handle the insensitive comments. Everyone handles rudeness differently.
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences for this story. No one should feel alone when facing psoriasis, and we are grateful to everyone who helps make this community a safe place of sharing.
Do you have an experience or story you'd like to share?
Does your psoriasis skin feel out of control? How are you managing?