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Supporting Psoriasis with Social Media

Supporting Psoriasis with Social Media

Can you trust online medical advice for skin care?

Talking openly about your health problems can feel taboo or embarrassing at times, especially if it's a visible skin condition like psoriasis. But now, in the age of the internet, people living with psoriasis are speaking up to help themselves, and others, get relief from painful skin.

Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and message boards, have helped people find others who have walked a mile in their shoes. But, surprisingly, people aren't usually reaching out for emotional support. Instead, they're looking for practical tips and advice about treating their skin.

Why Social Media Works for Psoriasis
A small 2012 survey found that most social media users with psoriasis use it to learn unique tips to manage their skin symptoms. People were most likely to use social media if they had more severe psoriasis and didn't have support from friends or family.

While the survey didn't talk about the age of these users, most people are diagnosed with psoriasis between the ages of 15 and 25. People in this age group are living more and more of their lives online, so it makes sense that this is where they turn for health info. But regardless of why people with psoriasis are turning to the internet, it seems to be an increasingly popular way to get medical advice -- with some people checking in several times a day.

So who runs these social media sites? It might not be who you think. A separate study found that out of about 100 dermatology journals, only about 13% were on Facebook and 14% were on Twitter, with another study noting a seriously lacking journal presence on Instagram.

The Best Social Sites for Psoriasis
Instead, people with psoriasis seem to communicate with other patients mostly on message boards. Some share their real-life treatment success stories to try to help others get clearer skin. Meanwhile, others seek out info on different doctor-recommended medications to make sure they work for real people with psoriasis.

Here are just a few active psoriasis discussion websites:

Like any advice you'd get from someone without a medical degree, it's best to take these discussions with a grain of salt. Just because one treatment plan worked for someone across the country doesn't mean it'll work for you. Don't alter your treatment without talking to your doctor first, and certainly never stop taking your medications without approval. Be careful with home remedies as they may damage, rather than help, your skin.

But if you read someone's journey to remission and want to follow their path, that's great! Just run it by your doctor to get their professional advice. The internet, while filled with information, can't ever replace your real-life relationship with your doctor.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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