The Most Inaccurate Statements About Psoriasis I’ve Heard

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When it comes to psoriasis, sometimes people say things out of love, and sometimes they are just being rude. Regardless of the intent, they are usually misinformed about the condition. Here are the nine most inaccurate statements I’ve heard about psoriasis, as well as some facts to back up the truth.


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Psoriasis is only dry skin.

This is the most frequent inaccurate statement I hear from those around me unfamiliar with psoriasis. The truth is that psoriasis goes much deeper than the skin. It’s caused by an overreactive response by the immune system which affects the skin. As with all autoimmune diseases, psoriasis involves different biological systems, affecting the whole body in a challenging way, and is often linked to other diseases.


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Psoriasis is a cosmetic issue.

Merriam-Webster describes the term cosmetic as “visually appealing,” “done for the sake of appearance,” or “correcting defects.” Although psoriasis is a very visible issue, it’s not cosmetic. Psoriasis can increase the risk for other health conditions, such as depression, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. It is much more than a cosmetic issue.


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It’s eczema.

Psoriasis and eczema do have many similarities. Both skin conditions are genetic, produce flare-ups at certain times, and share common triggers and symptoms. They are also both caused by an overactive immune system that generates inflammation. However, this happens in different ways. With psoriasis, the immune system signals skin cells to grow faster than they should. Eczema is more allergic in nature. Psoriasis and eczema can co-exist at the same time for one person, but they are unrelated.


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You need to bathe more.

Psoriasis has nothing to do with bad hygiene. If anything, too much hot water could have an adverse effect by drying out our skin. It doesn’t matter how many showers or baths we take, or how clean we are. If someone is affected by psoriasis, it will remain present until an effective treatment is found to regulate the immune system and to slow down the overreactive skin cells.


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There is a cure for psoriasis.

There is no cure for psoriasis. I repeat. There is no cure for psoriasis. There are many effective treatments that can help regulate the different functions of the immune system and therefore improve symptoms. However, there is simply no cure.


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You aren’t drinking enough water.

People automatically associate dry skin with dehydration and will suggest that you drink more water. Increasing one’s water intake will have a positive effect on the body, but hydrating alone will not completely rid a person of psoriasis.


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It worked for me, it should work for you.

There is a lot of confusion about the immune system’s role in causing psoriasis. Understanding the specific proteins signaling activation is critical in targeting the right treatment. For example, for some people, the protein Tumor necrosis factor (TNF alpha) signals immune system activation. In others, psoriasis is caused by an overreactive Interleukin 17 (IL-17) protein. Treatments vary depending on the source of the activation.


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Psoriasis skin is ugly.

Years ago, after a coworker noticed the patches of dry skin that appeared on my hands, he actually said to me, “You’re a pretty girl, but your skin is ugly.” I don’t consider my skin ugly. It’s different, unique, and yes, sometimes a little uncomfortable. Ugly is not an adjective I like to use to describe my condition. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some would say I look like a beautiful cheetah or spotted butterfly.


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Black people hardly get psoriasis.

According to statistics by the National Psoriasis Foundation, the prevalence of psoriasis in Caucasians is 2.5 percent compared to 1.3 percent in African Americans. However, the effect of psoriasis is around the same percentage for whites and blacks. The difference is that oftentimes the disease is underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed for people of color.