Despite psoriasis being a fairly common skin condition, there are a surprising number of misconceptions related to this condition. Here are six of the most common myths associated with psoriasis.
1. Psoriasis is contagious
Red patches on the skin caused by psoriasis may give the impression that the skin is infected, and many people believe that this is contagious. This isn't the case at all. Psoriasis is not an infectious disease, but an autoimmune disease. You cannot 'catch' psoriasis, nor can you pass it to another person via skin contact.
2. Poor hygiene causes psoriasis
Hygiene has nothing at all to do with your chances of getting psoriasis, or inducing flare-ups. There are a number of factors that may contribute to an individual developing psoriasis, which may include having a genetic predisposition, but often there is no specific reason this condition may appear.
3. Psoriasis will eventually go away
Many people who suffer from psoriasis experience periods of the condition coming and going, but, unfortunately, there is currently no cure. The good news is that with effective psoriasis treatment, and possibly lifestyle adjustments, most people should be able to manage their symptoms.
4. Psoriasis is just a skin rash
Psoriasis may just look like a skin rash, but it is far more complicated than this. In actual fact, psoriasis is caused by having an overactive immune system. To complicate matters even further, there are five different types of psoriasis, with the majority of people having what is known as plaque psoriasis. The condition can also affect people differently, with some sufferers only experiencing small areas of skin lesions, and others having more widespread patches.
5. Psoriasis only affects the knees, elbows, scalp and lower back
Red patches and lesions are typically found on knees, elbows, the scalp and the lower back, but they can actually appear anywhere on the body, including inside the ear canal and in the mouth. Psoriasis doesn't just affect the skin, either. As an autoimmune disorder associated with inflammation, according to the US Psoriasis Association, sufferers have a higher risk of contracting heart disease, diabetes and Crohn's disease.
6. It's easy to tell if someone has psoriasis
Red, scaly patches on the skin are telltale signs that someone may have psoriasis, but you can't make a diagnosis based on appearance alone, as the symptoms may be confused with other skin complaints such as eczema. Your doctor or a skin specialist will usually perform a biopsy and other tests to make a confirmed diagnosis.