Linzi discusses the all-important question of, "Does psoriasis have a stigma?" and, "How do we change the stigma around the condition?"
I'm sure as a fellow psoriasis sufferer, you've heard plenty of stories, you may even have your own stories about being in social situations either on a flight, in a swimming pool, at the hairdressers or a beauty treatment.
It could even be on a date where your psoriasis can garner quite a lot of unwanted attention, maybe even questions, maybe even rude remarks.
I personally haven't experienced that just because of where my psoriasis is, I'm lucky enough to be able to cover mine up, and with my long hair, my scalp psoriasis isn't as obvious, but I do know that there are a lot of people out there who aren't as lucky.
People Living With Psoriasis Feel There Is a Stigma
In a 2012 study, 102 people with psoriasis were questioned and asked how they felt about their psoriasis and the majority of people did feel that there was a stigma attached, which is such a shame.
Most people mentioned the fact that their psoriasis led to people staring and this, in turn, rose their stress levels, made them feel worse, and then exasperated the problem. It only then made their psoriasis flare more and this seems to be a vicious cycle.
People are worried or assume that in a social situation, people are going to notice their psoriasis, and so therefore, stress levels are high, anxiety levels are there, and then obviously that's going to make your psoriasis worse.
The Misconception of Psoriasis Being Contagious
Most people who have something to say about psoriasis are usually assuming it's contagious.
That is the number one reason for people making a comment or a rude remark, usually from their own limited experience or even children tending to think it's chicken pox or another skin rash, so what can be done to reduce the stigma and what can we all do as sufferers to make sure that doesn't happen to others?
Number one thing I think we can do, and I'm sure you'll all agree, is to educate others and spread awareness, making sure people know psoriasis is not contagious, no one can catch it.
Make sure that colleagues, loved ones, friends, family, all know psoriasis isn't contagious and that they then can help to educate others and continue spreading that awareness.
Speak Out About Your Psoriasis
Secondly, since I was diagnosed with psoriasis, I have been very open about it and very honest. I feel personally, for me, I tend to speak out about it first before people even ask questions.
That way, I can talk about it, start a dialogue, and people then, if they have questions, can ask me in an open forum and I don't seem to get embarrassed but again, that's only me.
Maybe having some prepared answers would be a better option for you and be ready that in a social situation, if someone asks, you know what to say about your psoriasis and make sure they know it is not contagious.
Become Friends With Like-Minded People
And lastly, I think in this day and age we are really lucky to have the wealth of knowledge we have and the community we have on social media.
There are so many psoriasis sufferers out there spreading awareness and sharing their stories. Social media communities are a great place to vent to, if you've maybe had a bad day or you're just feeling alone. Just get online, join the community, maybe share your story, hear other people's stories, even charities can help you, give you someone to speak to.
Somewhere like New Life Outlook where you can ask questions, find the answers, and not feel so alone.