rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


My psoriasis has so far, this winter, stayed in remission and for that I am very grateful. But I have found myself thinking back to the times its been bad and reactions people have had to it. Aside from the discomfort, irritation and outright pain psoriasis can cause it is the physical appearance that I know bothers so many sufferers, particularly me.

When I was at university in Edinburgh and about 20 years old some friends of mine and I took a short trip to Loch Lomond. University was a lot of fun but I also found it stressful moving somewhere new and making a completely new set of friends. Not to mention the not inconsiderable levels of alcohol I was consuming, which annoyingly is a known trigger for psoriasis.

So by the time the trip rolled around my psoriasis had returned to its uncomfortable, flaky levels. After spending a day with several fellow students who were brought up in solidly urban environments, scrambling up a hillside, we were all in need of warmth and a good meal. Off we went to the local pub, which had a heady array of stuffed animals from the surrounding area.

We had managed to nab a big enough table for us all and went to the bar in ones and twos to order our meals. I can’t remember what season it was but anyone who knows Scottish weather knows warm clothes are required no matter what time of year. I was wearing my most stereotypical studenty black wool polo neck. Despite having psoriasis my whole life I refuse to give up my love of black clothes, no matter how much is shows up the flakes from my scalp. Others, it seems, do not support my ardent love for black clothing.

As I stood in the small crowd of people at the bar a voice from behind me said “excuse me”. I turned to see a group of guys, probably a few years older than me. The thought crossed my mind maybe one of them fancied me, maybe they fancied one of my friends.
“Do you realise you have dandruff, love?”
“Dandruff. Its all over your shoulders. You really should do something about it, it looks disgusting.”
“Er, its not dandruff. Its psoriasis.”
I turned back round, shaking and ordered my food. I went back to the table and told my friends, who all offered to go up to the guys and shout at them but I told them not to bother. Yes, it was hurtful and shocking to have something about me pointed out so aggressively. But frankly they were idiots and probably just wanted to be rude to me for any reason. Some people are just idiots.

There’s a well known song about Loch Lomond and the first lyric is “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road”. Well this time, I took the high road. Horrible people will always find a fault to point out to make you feel bad about yourself. That’s their problem. We can try and explain the genetics behind our psoriasis but they don’t care. Sometimes we need to accept that others will always take the low road.



Jennifer White is a public affairs consultant who specialises in health at Lexington Communications. She has had psoriasis her whole life and is keen to share her experiences with others in the hope it might help them feel better about the condition. She regularly tweets on health policy and can be followed @JOCWhite.

4 Responses to I’ll take the high road; you take the low road.

  1. xtracnow

    Psoriasis is a lifelong condition, so it’s really difficult to have it. What’s sad is that it does not only attack you physically, but it also scars you emotionally as well. The emotional aspect of this condition is probably harder than its physical manifestations. Dealing with bullies, judgmental people and even regular people is really an emotionally straining task. I hope more and more people become aware that psoriasis isn’t contagious and it isn’t something to be scared with.

  2. Hi there, I completely agree, the most important message to get to people is that its not contagious. I’m so sorry to hear you find it emotionally straining. I hope you can find some comfort in my blogs, I’m 29 and had it my whole life. Incidents of people pointing it out or being rude have been so rare. I’ve found that once you explain what it is people are really very understanding and sympathetic. If they aren’t then don’t waste your time with them. x

  3. Carolyn Strydom

    great story – I know the feeling. Hope the dreaded P is under control

  4. That’s a good illustration about the ignorance and rudeness of other people, and what psoriasis sufferers have to put up with sometimes. I’m glad you had friends with you to help take the sting out of it – you’ve also been lucky to have not had too many incidents of this kind of treatment, because like xtracnow says, it can be so demoralising to put up with this.

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