6 Most Common Psoriasis Myths Explained
Psoriasis myths are not simply “bad information.” These pervasive theories can damage lives and relationships. Misinformation prevents psoriasis sufferers from getting the care they need and living the lives they deserve. Whether you have psoriasis, think you have psoriasis, or know someone who has psoriasis, it’s important to get your facts straight. Do your research and question any rumors you hear from non-reputable sources . . .
. . . starting with these extremely common psoriasis myths.
Myth #1: Psoriasis is Basically Dry Skin
It’s true that psoriasis often takes on the appearance of severely dry skin. Those who live with this condition deal with outbreaks of rough, itchy inflammation.
But it’s not a problem they can solve with more moisturizer.
Psoriasis is actually an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. When someone has psoriasis, their body produces skin cells at around five times the normal rate. This accelerated production is the work of inflammatory proteins.
Researchers have not determined why this happens. But we do know the result is an excess of skin cells, which creates raised, scaly patches. This is referred to as “plaque.” Plaque is often white or silver in appearance and is made up of dead skin cells that haven’t had time to flake off naturally.
Psoriasis is a complicated condition, which means treatment is not simple. If you know someone who has psoriasis, you can assume they’re doing their best to take care of themselves.
And if you have psoriasis, be patient with yourself. Don’t buy into any psoriasis myths claiming your condition should be easy to fix. Finding the right treatment often takes time.
Myth #2: Psoriasis Always Looks the Same
When you think of psoriasis, you probably think of plaque psoriasis. This form of the condition is recognizable by silvery scales and raised red skin patches. Plaque psoriasis is far and away from the most common type, but it’s not the only one.
Psoriasis could also mean:
- Inverse Psoriasis: A skin condition that often coincides with other types of psoriasis. This variety is identifiable by smooth, shiny, red lesions appearing in skin folds.
- Guttate Psoriasis: Dot-like lesions that appear in childhood. This is the second most common form of psoriasis, and it can be triggered by a strep infection.
- Pustular Psoriasis: Often mistaken for a skin infection, this variety is characterized by blisters on the hands and feet. These blisters contain non-infectious pus.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is the most severe form of psoriasis. It features widespread redness and shedding, as well as extreme itching and pain. Erythrodermic psoriasis demands immediate medical attention, as it can be life-threatening.
Psoriasis myths may make you feel like diagnosing your own skin condition is easy. It’s not.
If you experience any problems with your skin, consult a doctor instead of issuing a self-diagnosis. Conditions like psoriasis don’t always look or feel the way you expect them to.
Myth #3: Psoriasis Could Be Prevented with Better Hygiene
This is one of the most socially damaging psoriasis myths.
As we mentioned when we debunked Myth #1, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. More specifically, it’s a genetic autoimmune condition. Those who have psoriasis did nothing to bring this affliction on themselves. They could not have prevented it, and they cannot cure it.
In fact, aggressive hygiene practices can aggravate psoriasis symptoms. While cleanliness is important to skin health and general health, those who suffer from this condition should choose their products carefully. Use gentle soaps and lukewarm water. Avoid harsh chemicals.
Psoriasis is not an indication of poor hygiene. Do not judge others or yourself based on a skin condition that cannot be prevented.
Myth #4: You Can Cure Psoriasis
There is no cure for psoriasis.
Hopefully one day we’ll be able to edit this myth out of the list, but for the time being, don’t believe anyone peddling a cure.
On the other hand . . .
Myth #5: You Cannot Treat Psoriasis
Isn’t it funny how two contradictory myths can both be so widespread?
While it’s true that there is no cure, it’s also true that there are only a few of highly effective treatments you can try. Talk to your doctor about which options might be right for you.
In addition to pursuing psoriasis treatments, you can further take care of yourself by learning your own triggers. Psoriasis flares can be caused by any number of factors, but common culprits include:
- Contact with harsh chemicals
- Drinking alcohol
- Skin damage
- Cold weather
- Hot showers
- Excessive sweating
Avoid triggers whenever you can. Some triggers are unavoidable, like frequent hand washing and alcohol-based sanitizers. In cases such as these, take additional steps to choose gentle cleansers and moisturize regularly.
You can’t count on curing psoriasis. But the idea that you’re doomed to a miserable life is just another one of those psoriasis myths. With the help of your doctor and natural products, you can reasonably hope to manage symptoms and even love your skin.
Myth. #6, The Most Harmful of the Psoriasis Myths: The Condition is Contagious
Psoriasis is not contagious.
You cannot spread or “catch” psoriasis through physical contact, respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, or any other person-to-person interaction. The condition simply doesn’t work that way.
It is genetic, which means you might pass the genes related to psoriasis on to your children. But even then, the odds are against your kids developing this skin condition.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, scientists believe 10% of the population inherits a predisposition to developing psoriasis. But only 2-3% actually develop psoriasis, suggesting that genetics aren’t everything. Environmental factors have a role to play, as well.
Now, here’s why the “contagion” theory is our most hated myth among all psoriasis myths.
When people believe psoriasis is contagious, they avoid interacting with those individuals. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that:
- 32.3% of surveyed participants would prefer not to have individuals with psoriasis in their homes
- 39.4% would avoid shaking hands with someone who had psoriasis
- 54% would choose not to date an individual with psoriasis
Those statistics reflect a prejudice based purely on misinformation. They also point to an uphill battle for psoriasis sufferers who want to connect with the world around them.
A person who has psoriasis does not pose a threat to anyone else.
If you know someone with this skin challenge, help them clear up these common psoriasis myths. And if you have psoriasis, don’t be shy about educating those around you. You deserve to live a full and happy life, just like anyone else.
In the meantime, we at Delfina Skin are always here to help. Contact us anytime if you have questions about psoriasis solution or our doctor-developed Dry Skin Oil.