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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.