Psoriasis is a skin condition where patches of red skin are covered with white, flakey dead skin cells, according to HealthCentral. The patches or lesions are often found on the elbows, knees, torso and scalp and can be itchy and/or painful.
Psoriasis affects up to 7.5 million Americans, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) as reported by CBS News. Even so, many myths about it still prevail.
Here are nine myths about psoriasis that you shouldn’t believe:
Myth #1: Poor hygiene causes psoriasis.
Not true. Psoriasis has more to do with genetics and is passed down through families. The condition is thought to be caused by an autoimmune disorder that makes skin cells reproduce too rapidly.
Myth #2: Psoriasis is contagious.
Since psoriasis lesions are red and sometimes crack and bleed, it can appear that the skin is infected and therefore contagious. Again, not true. You cannot get psoriasis from someone with psoriasis.
Myth #3: Psoriasis is merely a skin condition.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that has the ability to negatively affect the entire body.
“Psoriasis is now considered a systemic — or body-wide — inflammatory condition because it’s linked to a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke,” said Theresa Devere, MD, a Kaiser Permanente dermatologist.(4)
Myth #4: Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are not linked.
Nearly 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. It’s believed that genes, the immune system and environmental factors play a role in the disease.
Psoriatic arthritis causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. According to the NPF, psoriatic arthritis is most common between ages 30 and 50.
Myth #5: Psoriasis is only a physical problem.
Physically, psoriasis can cause bouts of severe skin problems. But the emotional suffering can be just as intense.
Psoriasis sufferers can have feelings of anger and depression. Some psoriasis sufferers have suicidal thoughts, said CBS News.
Myth #6: Skin lesions are the only causes of itching.
Even in areas without lesions, the skin may itch. The itch’s intensity is not related of the severity of the psoriasis.(4)
Myth #7: There is a cure for psoriasis.
Unfortunately this is not true. Psoriasis is a chronic, lifelong condition. For those with psoriasis, their flare-ups can sometimes be nominal or nonexistent, and at other times, very severe.
Myth #8: There is no treatment for psoriasis.
There may be no cure for psoriasis, but there are numerous ways to treat it. Treatments such as medications, ointments, phototherapy and stress relief strategies, can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
Myth #9: Only adults have psoriasis.
Every year, approximately 20,000 children under the age of 10 are diagnosed with psoriasis. According to the NPF, the risk that a child will develop psoriasis is 10 percent if one parent has it and 50 percent if both parents have psoriasis.
Reviewed August 5, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
1) "About Psoriasis." Learn about Plaque Psoriasis, Guttate Psoriasis, Inverse Psoriasis, and Pustular Psoriasis. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
2) Bailey, Eileen. "8 Myths About Psoriasis." - Skin Care. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
3) "Psoriasis: 6 Common Myths." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
4) Rodriguez, Diana. "7 Psoriasis Myths Debunked." EverydayHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
5) Schaefer, Anna. "9 Psoriasis Myths You Probably Think Are True." Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.