9 Things NOT to Say/Do to Someone with Skin Issues

Alisha Bridges | Jan 5th 2016 Apr 10th 2017

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Any visible disease is going to be particularly hard on the people suffering from it. With a condition like psoriasis (on the surface of the body) it’s hard to hide and people are more prone to ridicule. Here are 9 helpful things NOT to do, to avoid hurting the person’s feelings.

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Don't stare

People with skin diseases are self conscious enough without feeling the hard, cold stares of others around them. When seeing someone who is different, it’s never polite to stare. Even if not malicious, staring can still make someone uncomfortable, because you’re noticing something a person is trying to hide. It may also compel others to stare, making someone’s disease the center of attention.

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Don't say, "What's wrong with your skin?"

I remember being at fast food window and noticed the teller had psoriasis. Trying to let her know she wasn’t alone, I asked her if she had psoriasis. The look she gave stabbed my soul, and you could tell she was uncomfortable. It’s important to know every person with a skin issue is at a different stage of their disease. Some are comfortable talking with others about it, others…not so much.

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Don't say, "Just put lotion on it."

Managing psoriasis or eczema is not as simple as applying vaseline and vitamin E capsules. It’s more than what you see on the surface. Our bodies are fighting a war we can’t control - creating skin cells we don’t need which create dry, red and flaky patches. And for as many treatments as some try, suggesting lotions can come off as discouraging.

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Don't try to guess

Avoid asking if a person has psoriasis, eczema, poison ivy, or any other disease you don’t have experience with or have only heard about. Again, every person’s story is different, and some may not be comfortable enough to explain their condition. If you worry about something being contagious, know that the odds of a person walking around in public with a contagious disease are typically slim to none.

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Don't assume

Don’t assume it’s easy for a person with psoriasis to wear clothing which exposes their skin. It’s easy for some, but hard for others. For years I hid my skin, and I dreaded the questions from family and friends asking why was I covered up when it was 90 degrees outside, some of them who knew I was dealing with psoriasis but decided to ask anyway.

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Don't say what you would do if you had it

You may mean well, but it is unlikely that you can truly relate to someone with a skin disease unless you have actually encountered something that makes you feel different from the rest of the general population. That being said, it’s not as uplifting to say what you would do if you had psoriasis – as it’s, “easier said than done.”

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Don't say, "It's just a skin rash.."

Although at times I know some say this in an attempt to make those of us suffering feel better, unfortunately, most of the time it’s not just a skin rash. Especially when it’s psoriasis - a serious, chronic autoimmune disease that can lead to other diseases such as depression, heart issues, and arthritis.

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Don't say, "Just east healthier."

For some psoriasis sufferers a healthier diet is helpful, but for others this is not the case. Also, changing your diet is a lifestyle change and can be extremely difficult to adhere to. Some people have a very hard time changing their diets because they lack the knowledge or it may be difficult for them to change for various reasons.

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Be conscious of how you talk about your own skin

My friends never did it on purpose, but it would really bother me when they talked about their skin ailments that seemed to be simple issues. It is all about perspective, but when my friend got a burn on her hand and said, “my hand looks disgusting,” my first thought was what she really might think about the condition of my skin with psoriasis. I encourage you to stay conscious of what you say around loved ones with skin issues.