My life with psoriasis as a person of color

| Alisha Bridges

When you look up the definition of psoriasis, you will normally find it described as an immune-mediated disease that causes red, flaky, patches of skin. Well, as a woman of color the term "red" is not really accurate for my condition. My psoriasis has never been red. My plaques have been dark purple to brown. 

I asked some of my other friends of color with psoriasis to describe the appearance of their condition, and it varied for all of them. Check out some of the answers: 

“Pale, purple and clear...”

“…I have had psoriasis for over 50 years. My p has been black, brown, red, white, purple, tan, pink and red. But to answer your question, my psoriasis has been mostly dark and thick in color…”

“…eggplant purple, tomato red, cherry red, coffee brown, magenta, merlot, iceberg silver (when ashy), and mahogany…”

Some also stated that their condition can sometimes look pink or gives an appearance to the skin that looks dirty. 

To some, the color used to describe psoriasis may seem miniscule, but it is, in fact, a serious issue that needs to be considered. For one, a lot of patients are misdiagnosed by their primary care physician as having other types of skin diseases because the appearance of their psoriasis doesn’t fit the definition provided to members of the medical community. Being misdiagnosed can cause patients to receive the wrong treatments, which can prolong real relief from this disease.  

It's been reported that more than 8 million people are living with psoriatic disease. I can’t help but wonder whether this number is greater than 8 million because so many people have been misdiagnosed, including myself. I talk about that experience in the video below.

For more videos about my experiences living with psoriatic disease, check out my YouTube channel

NPF has a ton of useful information for psoriatic disease patients, including this free Skin of Color webcast. For one-on-one support, contact the Patient Navigation Center

Alisha Bridges is a patient advocate and the 2015 NPF Volunteer of the Year. Her blog, Being Me in My Own Skin, offers a candid view of what it's like to live with psoriasis, which she's had for more than 20 years.

The opinions expressed by National Psoriasis Foundation Blog contributors are their own and do not reflect the opinions or positions of the National Psoriasis Foundation. The information posted on the NPF Blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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