“I'm sometimes surprised when people act like it's 'just psoriasis,' says Gary Spivak, who also has the common disorder. “It can lead to skin infections and scarring, and research even shows that it's linked to an increased risk of heart problems.”
What you can do:
You don't have to explain the seriousness to everyone. But if a friend, family member, or colleague asks, you could look at it as an opportunity to spread awareness, Jacob says.
Ineson also approaches it as a teaching moment. And a little humor never hurts. “If that was the case, [and it was just a rash,] I’d be lathered in cream,” she says.
You might hear: “Umm, I don’t want to touch you.”
Romantic relationships plus psoriasis can make for awkward moments. When it comes to dating, “people can be particularly unkind and surprisingly vain,” Ineson writes in her candid blog Seeing Pspots. Potential dates have rejected her because of how her skin looked.
Patrick H. says he’s felt self-conscious before getting intimate with a new partner, especially since you can have scaly patches on your genitals.
“You’re already vulnerable, and they might assume you have a sexually transmitted disease,” he says. “Still, it’s absolutely the other person’s business to know.”
What you can do:
It’s best to address the topic early on, Ineson says, so both people feel more at ease.
“It’s difficult to meet someone for the first time and explain a skin condition that can be a little disgusting maybe and a little off-putting,” she blogs. “I don’t let it get me down though ... Be confident and own your flaky, raw skin. They don’t like it? Maybe you could teach them a thing or two about what having ‘tough skin’ really means.”
You might hear: “Have you tried dandruff shampoo?”
Spivak says it’s happened to him. “Maybe the biggest stigma I've faced is when I have a psoriasis flare on my scalp or ears and people think I have dandruff or don't clean myself enough,” he says.