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How to Deal with 8 Common Reactions to Psoriasis

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  • ‘What’s that?’

    ‘What’s that?’

    Psoriasis is one condition that you don’t have to tell people you have — the pinkish red inflamed patches of skin often speak before you can. You are of course more aware of it than anybody else, but some people will inevitably stare, make small remarks, and offer “miracle cures.” While many react with the best of intentions, it’s sometimes hard to deal with the unwanted attention.

    Keep reading for common reactions to psoriasis and how best to respond.

  • ‘Looks like someone got into some poison ivy.’

    ‘Looks like someone got into some poison ivy.’

    People often confuse the red patches of psoriasis with the red rash that forms when you come into contact with poison ivy or poison oak. Assure everyone that you’re not contagious and your skin doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it would if you’d encountered a nasty plant that would ruin a good hike.

  • ‘What are you allergic to?’

    ‘What are you allergic to?’

    While you may still be prone to allergies, psoriasis outbreaks aren’t caused by an allergic reaction. If someone asks, tell them you’re allergic to your own body, so your skin goes beyond the call of duty to make new skin cells. While flares can be linked to things like stress, alcohol, and sugar intake, you certainly aren’t allergic to them in the traditional sense of the word.

  • ‘Who’d you get into a fight with?’

    ‘Who’d you get into a fight with?’

    If you have psoriasis patches on your hands, namely your knuckles, you’re going to get this one quite a bit. Depending on how someone asks, you might have to restrain yourself from getting into a fight! A much better idea is to explain the lifelong fight raging inside your body against your confused immune system — and let them know you’re ready for it.

  • ‘Did you get burned?’

    ‘Did you get burned?’

    Depending on what stage of a flare you’re in, your skin may look like you flew a little close to the flame and singed parts of your skin along the way. While psoriasis can look like a burn, explain to the curious party that your body is a bit hyperactive and decides to make more skin cells than necessary, which causes the inflamed patches.

  • ‘How did you get your owie?’

    ‘How did you get your owie?’

    You can’t blame kids for being curious. Children will often confuse psoriasis flares for healing cuts or gashes, especially if they affect the common areas of knees and elbows. For younger children, explain that it isn’t an actual “owie,” but it’s a sign of super-fast healing powers and nothing they should worry about.

  • ‘My cousin has it. She used _____ and it cleared up overnight.’

    ‘My cousin has it. She used _____ and it cleared up overnight.’

    People will always have the best intentions at heart when offering up whatever “miracle cure” they think they might have. However, there is no magic cure-all for psoriasis. Sure, there are medications, lifestyle changes, and other choices you can make, but it’s doubtful someone’s Great Aunt Melba came up with a cure science couldn’t find.

  • Staring


    Every once in a while, you may see someone who is staring at your skin and not saying anything. On most days, you can shrug it off, but on other days, it’s hard not to point out how rude someone is being. Depending on how sassy you’re feeling, you could give them a piece of your mind by saying, “If stares could cure, you’d be a doctor.” However, most often you’re dealing with someone ignorant to psoriasis, so you could use it as a time to educate.

  • Spreading the Right Information

    Spreading the Right Information

    Every time you talk to someone about your skin, you have the opportunity to educate them about your condition. You can tell them about your experience, or that 7.5 million have it in the United States alone, according to the American Academy of Dermatology You can tell them what causes psoriasis, what complications it carries, or how others can prevent it.