First impressions and psoriasis

You’ve heard the expression ‘first impressions count’. It especially comes to mind when we have that important interview, or are off to meet our partner’s parents for the first time. But imagine this. Imagine you had visible signs of the disease psoriasis on your skin. Would you be more nervous of what others might think of you then?

To challenge people to think twice about their first impressions, the European Umbrella Organisation for Psoriasis Movements (EUROPSO) launched the campaign my three seconds. Those 3 seconds are the time in which people with psoriasis are judged by those they meet. It’s a powerful campaign, and here’s a snapshot of how Europso explains it:

‘The well-known Halo Effect confirms that in daily life we form a first impression judgement about people in a few seconds.

In three seconds you could lose the opportunity to meet your best friend.
In three seconds you could lose the best employee for your company
In three seconds you could lose the love of your life’

The campaign seeks to support young patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by educating people about the disease and promoting awareness of the needs of psoriasis patients. These needs span early diagnosis of the disease through to combatting discrimination.

Despite the fact that 125 million people around the world are living with psoriasis, many people still know very little about the condition.  When the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a Resolution on psoriasis last year, this was a major milestone in the psoriasis patient community. It both recognises psoriasis as a chronic, non-communicable, disease and calls on its Member States to raise awareness of this disease and its impacts on patients around the world, culminating in World Psoriasis Day, October 29th.

One of most important elements of awareness raising around psoriasis is finding a way to tackle the stigma, discrimination and ignorance associated with the disease. Knowing the facts about psoriasis is a good start to understanding more about the disease.

Let’s start with by asking what psoriasis is and is it contagious?

As defined by the WHO, psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterised by scaly, red skin lesions. It is not contagious. Despite these facts, lack of knowledge about the disease still leads to prejudice and stigma; nearly 90% of people with psoriasis report feelings of shame and embarrassment, and 62% suffer from depressive symptoms.

Is psoriasis only skin-deep?

As explained by EUROPSO board member Celia Marín here on LillyPadEU, ‘Many people think psoriasis is a mild disease that affects just the skin - they think psoriasis is not a big problem for patients and is a question of aesthetics.’ Psoriasis is a chronic, painful and disabling non-communicable disease (NCD). In one-third of cases, psoriasis patients develop co-morbidities and multi-morbidities with other chronic diseases. For example, up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints; 40% are more likely to have a stroke.

How can you help?

Give 2 minutes, 9 seconds of your day to learning more about the impact of psoriasis by watching the my three seconds campaign video. That, and sign the Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis youth European Manifesto to show your support for patients living with psoriasis.