Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Empowering Patients to Overcome the Social Stigma of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated dermatologic condition, characterized by red, scaly plaques and/or lesions on the skin. Managing psoriasis can be challenging in of itself, but one aspect about psoriasis that is not as apparent to the visible eye is the social stigma and misperception that many people with psoriasis often deal with – people asking inappropriate questions, making rude comments, or steering clear because they’re afraid it’s contagious. For example, Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall appeared on The Dr. Phil Show and spoke with a patient living with psoriasis. The patient, Seger, shared her experience of discrimination when a sales person did not want to help after seeing the psoriatic plaques on her hands.

As a dermatologist, I have come across many patients with psoriasis in my practice and heard countless accounts of their experiences of being stigmatized and feeling isolated because of their disease. Getting kicked out of a restaurant or being denied service at a hair salon or being treated differently in the workplace because people don’t understand what psoriasis is can be devastating. Such experiences can lead to elevated rates of psychological and emotional disorders, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. These feelings often impact psoriasis patients’ relationships, making it difficult to talk openly about how the disease impacts their daily life.
Here is some advice I give my patients who are living with psoriasis:

October 29 is World Psoriasis Day – the perfect time to fight the stigma associated with psoriasis. By raising awareness, you are doing your part to build a better world for people with psoriasis. Learn more about it here.

Lotus Mallbris, MD, PhD, was a Senior Medical Director and the global medical lead across several investigational dermatology programs at Pfizer.