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Despite 2-3% of the UK population having psoriasis, a whopping 1.8 million people , many people are unaware of what psoriasis is and lack a basic understanding of the disease.
It can be incredibly infuriating when people ask questions about the condition such as ‘what’s up with your skin”, I hope that this article helps you answer those questions and educate more people about psoriasis and its effects.
“So, what is psoriasis?”
This has to be the number one question I get asked, alongside “What is that on your face?”. This question can be infuriating especially if you are insecure about how your skin looks and do not really want to talk about the subject. People can be insensitive.
I find that the best way to deal with this question is to give an informed answer and help educate the person asking. For example, I would tell people that psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition which causes my skin to replace itself every few days instead of replacing the skin cells at a normal rate of 21-28 days. I would explain that this can cause raised ‘plaques’ on the skin, which can be flaky, scaly, red patches of skin that can be itchy and easily irritable. I would add that psoriasis can occur on any area of the body and is an incurable disease.
This is quite a long answer but allows you to educate the person asking the question ensuring they properly know about the condition.
“But have you tried X product?”
It can be incredibly frustrating when people ask if you have tried certain products because that helped their small patch of dry skin or if I had tried another product because it cured their cousins’ boyfriends’ psoriasis.
As frustrating as this can be, I try to stay positive in my response. I first of all explain that psoriasis is incurable but thank you for the advice and it's great that they found something with has cleared their psoriasis. I will then say I have either tried the product or that I will look into it and I will add that different products and medications work for different people.
I then explain the difference between psoriasis and general patches of dry skin, usually using along the same lines as the answer I used in question one. I tell them that psoriasis is much more than just a skin condition, and can affect people not just physically but can have psychological impacts too.
Again, I use the answers to these questions as a chance to educate and raise awareness about the severity of psoriasis to people who may not be fully aware.
“Is there a cure for psoriasis?”
This is usually a follow up question I get from people who ask me about my psoriasis. Despite my saying in my original answer that it is incurable, I still get this as a follow up. It can be really annoying as you feel people aren’t listening to you but it is important to remain calm and not get frustrated. They might have not have heard you properly. To answer this question, I explain that psoriasis is incurable however it is possible to manage the condition if you find a treatment that works for you and follow the advice of your dermatologist. I then talk about some of the treatments that work for me but you should only share this information if you are comfortable to do so.
“How do you deal with your psoriasis?”
This can be quite a personal question and I understand why a lot of people do not want to answer it. I am very open with how I deal about my psoriasis and often speak about this publically, so I am happy to answer this question if it comes up.
If you are not comfortable with asking this question, then I would suggest a short answer and steering the conversation in another direction. For example, “I regularly see my dermatologist and watch my diet. By the way did you see the new show on tv?” This answers their question but moves the conversation on without coming across as rude.
Unfortunately, with so many people not knowing about psoriasis or being unaware of the full extent of psoriasis, people will always ask questions about the disease. The best thing to do is to see it as an oppurtunity to not just answer the question, but as an oppurtunity to educate people further and raise greater awareness of the condition.
UK/IE MAT-15116 Date of Preparation: February 2018
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.