What Psoriasis Sufferers Are Tired of Hearing

Patient Expert
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If I had a dollar for every time someone told me about what their mother, sister or brother tried for psoriasis, or offered advice on how to treat the condition I have been living with for much of my life, I’d be rich. You may mean well, but sometimes advice to a person with a chronic condition can come off as insensitive. Here are some top culprits and suggestions for encouraging things to say instead.

"Just put lotion on it."

Not that simple - psoriasis isn’t just a skin thing. It is a disease of the immune system that affectsthe skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a person’s  immune system displays, “faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks…” It’s key to understand that psoriasis is more than a cosmetic issue, and that it can lead to other diseases such as Gout and Crohn’s Disease.

What you could say instead…

I have heard that keeping psoriasis moisturized helps it not flake as much. Is that accurate?

"Change your diet."

One of the reasons it’s so hard to find a cure is that there are hundreds of factors that can trigger psoriasis. There is however a lot of general talk in the psoriasis community about changing your diet, eliminating gluten, sugar, corn and diary to help skin. While such methods may be effective for some, they cannot be applied to all. Just as people are severely allergic to peanuts while others are fine, with psoriasis, everyone’s body chemistry is different.

What you could say instead…

Have you ever considered an allergy test to rule out environmental factors, or even food triggers that could potentially affect your immune system?

"This worked for… You should try it too…"

There is no “one size fits all” solution with psoriasis. It’s already a very frustrating disease to manage, and it only adds insult to injury when people, especially those without it, offer suggestions. While I understand you are trying to be helpful, many have no idea how hard it is for each individual to pinpoint the cause of their psoriasis.

What you could say instead…

What have you tried so far? Are there things that have or haven’t worked for you?

"If I had psoriasis, I would…"

It is very frustrating to hear someone who doesn’t have psoriasis talk about what they would and wouldn’t do if they had the disease. I’ve had friends who thought it encouraging to tell me that if they were me, they’d wear shorts and tanks tops and not care what others had to say. But as someone who has psoriasis, I can tell you this is much easier said than done. It’s near impossible to know what you will and won’t do until you’re the one who’s actually dealing with it.

What you could say instead…

I’m sorry that you are dealing with such a horrible disease. Although I don’t have psoriasis, I’m here to support you in any way possible.

It’s just a "skin thing."

Psoriasis can become severe in that it affects the entire body, and can even put the sufferer at risk for other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Crohn’s disease. And with it being disease that’s so visible to others, the condition can also cause depression, emotional distress, low self-esteem, negatively impacting one’s quality of life.

What you could say instead…

How does psoriasis exactly effect your skin? What causes that to happen?

"I don’t see how you do it… You are Strong."

While encouragement and compliments on being strong are appreciated, those of us with psoriasis really don’t have a choice but to deal with the disease. These kind of comments can also be taken as a harsh reminder that this disease is not easy on the eyes, and that others notice it.

What you could say instead…

You are strong and I love you regardless.

"OMG I have a spot on my skin and its hideous!"

I know friends mean well, but it’s really bothersome when people refer to a simple spot on their skin as hideous or disgusting. If they feel that way about a pimple or burn mark, I often wonder how they really feel about my skin. I wish people were a little more cautious with the things they say around people who are different from them.

What you could say instead…

I have a pimple or burn mark that I need to figure out how to get rid of…