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The 7 most common misconceptions about psoriasis

Published 20 May 2021 • By Candice Salomé

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition affecting around 2% of the population in the UK. This pathology is characterised by the appearance of thick patches of skin that come off in the form of white scales. As many British people are not familiar with this disease, many preconceived ideas are circulating and are proving to be very difficult to dispel!

So, is psoriasis contagious? Is it a psychosomatic disease? Does psoriasis only affect the skin?

We untangle the true from the false in this article!

The 7 most common misconceptions about psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease. The latter is characterised by the appearance of scales and plaques that appear in different areas of the body although the scalp, elbows and knees are the areas most often affected.

>> To learn more about psoriasis, check out our condition fact sheet <<

Even though psoriasis is a chronic illness, there are many preconceived notions circulating about it. Here are the 7 most common misconceptions about psoriasis:

Psoriasis is contagious

FALSE. However, according to an OpinionWay survey conducted for Psoriasis France, 1 out of 3 French people would avoid kissing a person with psoriasis and 72% think that it is a contagious disease. Psoriasis is in no way contagious and cannot be transmitted by physical contact.

Psoriasis can be treated with natural remedies

BOTH TRUE AND FALSE. We're not talking about curing psoriasis, but about easing it. In fact, some natural alternatives can help calm psoriasis flare-ups. Certain essential oils such as rosemary, tea tree or juniper can help calm the inflammation. Lavender can be used to soothe itching and Roman chamomile essential oil can help prevent flare-ups with its calming and relaxing effect.

Psoriasis is a psychosomatic illness

FALSE. Psoriasis is not a psychological disorder. Several factors are involved in the development of psoriasis: genetic and environmental factors. Nevertheless, stress can contribute to psoriasis flare-ups. But it is not only involved in the development of psoriasis, it also increases the symptoms of many other conditions.

Psoriasis is caused by a lack of hygiene

FALSE. According to the OpinionWay study for Psoriasis France, 4% of those questioned think that psoriasis is linked to a lack of hygiene. However, psoriasis is indeed a chronic inflammatory disease. The thickening of the skin is due to the faster renewal of the cells that make up the epidermis, called keratinocytes. The skin redness is due to the inflammation caused by immune system cells.

Besides, too frequent washing or unsuitable hygiene products tend to aggravate the symptoms of psoriasis.

Psoriasis only affects the skin

FALSE. Psoriasis affects the skin, but it can also cause pain depending on the area affected. In some cases, it can worsen and affect the joints, in which case it is called psoriatic arthritis. It can develop into irreversible lesions if not cared for.

Psoriasis is not a serious health condition

FALSE. 20% of psoriasis patients suffer from a moderate or severe form. The disease can affect a very large area of the skin or reach the joints. Itching can be intense.

Moreover, psoriasis can be responsible for significant psychological distress, particularly due to the non-acceptance of others.

Psoriasis is curable

FALSE. Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. Therapeutic care is based on the use of topical treatments (dermocorticoids, vitamin D3), phototherapy (treatment with non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation), and/or oral treatments in the most severe forms (retinoids, methotrexate, cyclosporin, etc.). Thermal cures or hypnosis can also be prescribed.

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avatar Candice Salomé

Author: Candice Salomé, Health Writer

Candice is a content creator at Carenity and specialises in writing health articles. She has a particular interest in the fields of women's health, well-being and sport. 

Candice holds a master's degree in... >> Learn more

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