August is Psoriasis Awareness Month – a public health and awareness campaign sponsored by the National Psoriasis Foundation for educating the public, raising awareness and dispelling myths about the disease. Dr. Kent Walker, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, walks through the top 5 myths about psoriasis and the truth behind them:
Myth: Psoriasis is a contagious disease
Fact: Psoriasis is a chronic, genetic autoimmune disease that causes red, scaly patches on the skin that can sometimes crack, itch and bleed. This disease is not contagious.
Myth: Psoriasis is a result of poor hygiene
Fact: Although psoriasis appears on the skin, it is an immune system disease that is not caused or worsened by poor personal hygiene. People with the disease have a genetic tendency to develop it. There are certain things that can trigger flare-ups including skin injury, stress, hormonal changes, infection and medications. Most people with the disease experience cycles of clear skin and outbreaks.
Myth: Psoriasis is very easy to diagnose
Fact: The truth is that there are many people with psoriasis who don’t even know they have it. Skin rashes are not uncommon so doctors need to rule out a list of other possible causes like allergy to food/medication and viruses. Careful visual inspection is needed for diagnosing psoriasis but sometimes there is need for a skin biopsy.
Myth: There is no treatment for psoriasis
Fact: There is no cure for psoriasis but there are different treatments available to minimize the symptoms of the disease. Treatment is individualized from one person to another. Individuals affected by psoriasis can, over time, learn what may cause flare-ups and try to control those external reasons.
Myth: Psoriasis is not very common
Fact: It is actually the most common among all the autoimmune diseases in the United States and affects approximately 7.5 million people in the US.
If you are struggling with psoriasis or other skin issues and don’t know where to turn, the skin health experts at Forefront Dermatology are ready to help. To find the Forefront dermatologist nearest you, visit the locations page today.