National Psoriasis Foundation
Parents & Youth

For kids: Talking about psoriasis with other people

Meeting people and making new friends is all part of growing up. It happens all the time when you go off to school, join clubs, participate in sports or pursue your interests. At times, the first time you meet someone can be even more difficult when you have psoriasis.

Sometimes people who don't know about psoriasis jump to conclusions about your skin. This may not seem fair or make sense, but it gives you the chance to teach them about the disease. Maybe the next time they meet someone else who has psoriasis, their reaction will be based on fact, not assumption. You can take credit for making that happen!

What should I tell interested strangers about psoriasis? 

It is much easier to explain psoriasis if you know as much as possible about the medical side of the disease. The information on this Web site will help. You are always welcome to contact the Psoriasis Foundation for more information.

Most people want to know what it is, how you got it, if they can "catch" it and how you take care of it. Depending on the circumstances, you can say more. Once they know they can't catch it and that it isn't your fault, most people are happy.

How much should I tell new friends about psoriasis?

It's up to you to decide when and how much you tell your friends about psoriasis. New friends may want to know about your treatments and about the effects that psoriasis has on you. Most people will want to know how they can help. Be sure to tell them. Even friends with the best intentions won't know you need support unless you ask for it.

New friends may try to shield you from hurt and worries regarding your psoriasis. Though their intentions may be pure, protecting you can make you a victim. A victim is someone without control over a situation. It's important to remain in control over the effects of your disease. Gently show friends that you are capable and prefer to handle things related to psoriasis yourself, even though their support and care are appreciated.

Here are some ways to explain psoriasis:

  • When you have psoriasis, it means that your skin is producing skin cells faster than normal.
  • Scientists haven’t totally figured out what causes psoriasis, but it isn’t because of bad food, bad hygiene, or personality. You did not bring psoriasis on yourself.
  • It is not a contagious disease. People can’t “catch” psoriasis from you.
  • Psoriasis is something you were born with, just like your eye color or hair color.
  • Psoriasis is a chronic disease, which means that it is ongoing. Sometimes it seems better, sometimes it may get worse.
  • Researchers don’t know why some people get the disease and some people don’t, but they are trying to figure out why.

Psoriasis is a part of you, but it is not all of who you are!