It’s the general consensus that people love gift-of-the-month clubs. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having packages delivered to their doorsteps each month filled with exciting, new goodies to try?
So wouldn’t it be nice if there was a gift-of-the-month club for people living with psoriasis? Well, guess what? There is. It’s called PatchBox.
Launched in 2015, cofounders John Headley and Aaron Dack think of PatchBox as more than just a subscription service for psoriasis relief – it’s a support system for people in the psoriatic community.
“PatchBox wasn’t created with a sales pitch. I personally experience what it is like living with psoriasis every day,” said Dack, whose disease measures on the moderate-to-severe scale.
Like many, he was initially misdiagnosed with eczema and prescribed a moisturizing cream. “What happened next was nothing short of unbelievable in my book,” Dack recalls. “Just a total meteoric rise in psoriasis anger punished my body. In a few short weeks, I had gone from a simple eczema spot to total fear of the unknown.”
He went through all the different treatment options from topicals to biologics, but his psoriasis raged on and “the only thing that was being beaten down was my bank account,” Dack said.
“After finishing up my medicine rounds and really seeing no effect, I became extremely interested in the mechanisms of psoriasis and how it affects the body. Science has always been a passion of mine, and understanding just how psoriasis works is crucial even now to how PatchBox picks and curates products to everyone’s needs.”
Dack, who has a degree in biology, and Headley, who has a degree in electrical engineering, met at work. “Aaron was working as a software developer, I was in IT, and we both were looking for something more rewarding to spend our time on,” Headley said.
The two worked on a number of ventures together before coming up with the idea for PatchBox in June, just three months before the launch of the first box.
“We invest a lot of effort into sourcing only premium products,” Headley said. “We make sure the companies have a strong reputation and the ingredients they use are of the highest quality. We also evaluate the product’s success rate against combating symptoms of psoriasis based on available scientific research, as well as getting medical opinions from our trusted dermatologists.”
Subscribers, affectionately known as “Patchers,” can opt for the regular-sized PatchBox or a PatchBox Mini for $49 or $29 month, respectively. Patchers in Alaska, Hawaii and Canada pay a little extra for shipping and handling.
What’s in the box?
PatchBox comes with four to five full-sized, handpicked items, while PatchBox Mini contains three to four handpicked items, some of which are sample-sized. You can have PatchBox shipped to your doorstep or to a loved one’s doorstep on a monthly, trimonthly or biannual basis.
Each box is personalized to each Patcher based on his or her answers to questions like, “How is your scalp feeling today?” and “What symptom is bothering you most?” which are filled out on the company’s online question form.
“We get a lot of responses saying that they love how personalized the products inside the box are and that they feel like we are making a personal connection with them,” Headley said. “Sometimes subscribers let us know their needs have changed, and we happily focus their next month’s products on this new profile.”
“During this long journey with psoriasis, the strong community bonds between fellow Patchers has continued to amaze me,” Dack said. “Everyone has their own knowledge and experiences to share, and PatchBox aims to capture exactly that.”
Check out this video of psoriasis vlogger Huy Ngo of Loveland, Colorado, opening his first PatchBox.
So what’s Dack’s personal favorite PatchBox goodie?
“I would have to say jojoba oil,” he said. “It truly changed how my psoriasis felt. I wasn’t so scaly all the time and I had more relief from the redness and irritation.”
But he also knows that one of the most painful truths about psoriasis is its unpredictability. What works for one person may not work for another. There is no universal remedy, and “We should never be fooled by ‘quick relief’ schemes,” Dack wrote on the PatchBox blog.
“There exists hundreds, if not thousands, of these ideas and products, so always be aware.”
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.