9 Ways to Combat the Stigma of Psoriasis

by Casey Nilsson Patient Advocate

Psoriasis is a visible, disease that many people don’t understand. Stigma surrounding the skin condition affects those that live with it in direct and indirect ways. For example, according to a 2017 study published in Advances in Dermatology & Allergology, greater depression severity in psoriasis patients is associated with higher levels of psoriasis-related stigma. Here are a few ways to spread knowledge, help others, and strut your stuff despite the stigma of psoriasis.

Woman on computer in front of window.
iStock

Understand the disease of psoriasis

The first step in addressing the stigma of psoriasis is education. Browse answers to common questions, the most recent dietary advice, cutting-edge research, and other psoriasis news and trends so you’re informed about your own condition. That way, you can field questions with authority.

Father and son talking
iStock

Draw in your support system

Take time to educate your close friends and family about your disease. You can also guide them to online resources including the National Psoriasis Foundation. There’s a good chance they don’t understand psoriasis, even if you’ve lived with it for many years. They can help advocate for you with acquaintances and extended family, as well.

Kim K
GettyImages

Follow celebs with psoriasis

Some people with psoriasis might find solace in successful, famous, and downright beautiful people who also struggle with the skin disease. Kim Kardashian West, one of the most visible celebs of our day, is vocal about her struggle with the disease and how she manages it. Read how Kim. K and six other celebrities with psoriasis don’t let the disease dull their shine.

reading blog on smart phone
iStock

Follow other psoriasis warriors

The internet is a great place to meet people with psoriasis. Follow psoriasis bloggers, join a psoriasis Facebook group, and keep up with conversations on Twitter and Instagram with hashtags #psoriasis, #psoriasiswarrior, and #getyourskinout.

two women talking on bench.
iStock

Share your own story of psoriasis

Whether it’s with strangers on a park bench or on social media, share your story with others who might not understand the disease. Repeat, ad infinium: “No, it’s not contagious. Yes, it’s itchy. Yes, it hurts. Yes, I’ll be okay.”

Raised fists.
iStock

Help others with psoriasis

Connect with people early in their psoriasis journey and share what’s worked for you along the way. Mentorships are incredibly valuable for people who are newly diagnosed with psoriatic disease, as they offer guidance and support. You can also lend your voice to patient advocacy initiatives.

Father with high five for daughter on beach
iStock

Use your imagination to engage with kids

When a little kid asks about the spots on your leg, use it as another opportunity for education and have a little fun with it. Use your imagination and explain it with images and language that they can understand. Your cheetah spots make you faster, after all.

Woman walking in street
iStock

Ignore the gawkers

Knowledge is power but stares still hurt. Since you can’t educate every passerby during shorts season, hold your head high and ignore the gawkers. Getting some vitamin D on your skin is more important than appeasing strangers.

relaxing woman.
iStock

Get comfortable in your own skin

If fellow psoriasis warrior Kim Kardashian West treats the world like a runway, you can, too. Embarrassing moments may come and go, but you will survive. Take comfort in knowing that you are hardly alone in those moments you wish you were without this visible disease, but that together we can combat stigma and raise awareness of this skin condition.

Casey Nilsson
Meet Our Writer
Casey Nilsson

Casey Nilsson, an award-winning journalist and magazine editor based in Rhode Island, writes about autoimmune disease for HealthCentral. Casey is a 2018 Association of Health Care Journalists fellow, and her reporting on unfair labor conditions for people with disabilities was a finalist for the City and Regional Magazine Association Awards. Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2016, Casey enjoys digging into rheumatologic news, research and trends.