Author: Justin Woods, Clinical Pharmacist
August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. Psoriasis affects roughly 7.5 million people in the U.S. Although it’s a relatively common condition, there are a lot of misunderstandings about psoriasis. To help raise psoriasis awareness and understanding, we’re busting six common myths about this chronic condition.
Myth: Psoriasis is just dry skin.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition that affects your immune system. When your body makes skin cells too fast, the cells can build up on the surface of your skin. Areas of skin cell buildup are called plaques. Plaques are often red, itchy and uncomfortable but they are not contagious.
Myth: Psoriasis is contagious.
Psoriasis is not contagious. You can’t get psoriasis from another person. If you touch a psoriasis lesion or skin plaque, it will not cause you to develop psoriasis. Psoriasis is often linked to genetic and environmental factors. The Psoriasis Speaks website offers more information about environmental triggers. Triggers, such as strep throat or stress, affect each person differently.
Myth: People with psoriasis are born with skin plaques.
Most people are diagnosed with psoriasis as a young adult between the ages of 15 and 35, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, but psoriasis can begin at any age. In rare cases, babies can get psoriasis, too.
Myth: Once a person has skin plaques, the plaques never go away.
While there is no cure for psoriasis, many people effectively manage their symptoms. Skin plaques and red patches typically come and go in cycles. If your psoriasis is under control, you may go weeks or months without having a flare up. In some cases, psoriasis goes into remission and doesn’t show symptoms for years at a time. Getting control of your psoriasis is often a combination of medication management, lifestyle changes and avoiding your psoriasis triggers. If you are struggling to control your psoriasis symptoms, talk to your pharmacist at Amber Pharmacy.
Psoriasis treatment is generally a combination of topical treatments, like moisturizers, lifestyle changes and medication. Your doctor will work with you to develop the most effective treatment plan for your psoriasis.
Myth: Psoriasis only affects the skin.
In addition to red patches of skin, psoriasis can affect a person’s physical and mental health in other ways. People with psoriasis may have a greater risk of high blood pressure, obesity and other conditions. Some people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, which involves joint pain and swelling. The Mayo Clinic provides additional information about potential complications linked to psoriasis.
Myth: Psoriasis plaques only appear on elbows and knees.
While psoriasis is most commonly seen on elbows and knees, it can show up anywhere. Generally, the type of psoriasis you have affects where you get skin plaques. For example, nail psoriasis is mainly seen in fingernails and toenails. Inverse psoriasis usually affects the armpit and groin areas.
The Dermatology Center of Excellence at Amber Pharmacy specializes in psoriasis and other skin conditions. Our clinical pharmacists understand the nuances of your medication and your condition, which allows them to offer you expert clinical support. If you have questions about managing your psoriasis, call 888-370-1724 or visit our website.