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21 Things only psoriasis sufferers understand

It’s estimated that as many as 7.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from psoriasis, but it’s not exactly the kind of club you want to be a card-carrying member of. For all of us “polka dots” out there, these 21 truths are simply part of the dues we pay on the daily.

1. Fearing the winter like it’s the coming of the apocalypse

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Winter weather equals dry skin, and dry skin for a psoriasis sufferer comes pretty close to entering Dante’s seventh circle (or something like it).

2. “Brush Your Shoulders Off” is not just a song by Jay Z

gif of Rhianna brushing off her shoulder

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In fact, you’re pretty sure Jay Z came up with this while watching you repeatedly check your cardigan for flakes and literally brush your shoulders off.

3. Having hairy Sasquatch legs is the lesser of two evils

gif of man in a Sasquatch costume running away

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Shaving your legs, despite your best efforts and an onslaught of moisturizing products, makes them drier and your psoriasis goes berserk. Besides, we heard hairy is en vogue again. Can we get an amen, Miley Cyrus?

4. What nearly any and every kind of diet entails

gif of Regina George asking if butter is a carb

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You’ve gone gluten-free, MSG-free, wheat-free, full-on Atkins, vegan… name it and you’ve tried it, all in pursuit of a nutritional lifestyle that will possibly lessen the effects of your flare-ups. You are the Yoda of health food fads.

5. That sinking feeling when an unassuming child asks what’s wrong with you

gif of Jess Day sadly nodding her head and looking down

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Sure, they didn’t mean any harm — but you still can’t help but feel like Quasimodo in the bell tower. Even worse? When the comment didn’t come out of the mouth of a babe, but an actual adult. Ouch.

6. Having people “inform” you that you have poison ivy or chicken pox

gif of an exasperated Emma Watson

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‘Cause, obviously, you would have no idea if your entire body were reacting violently to an encounter with a hostile plant. Thanks for the heads up, pal.

7. Or constantly responding to idle stares with a reassuring, “It’s not contagious”

gif of Taylor Swift giving a thumbs up

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We get it. It looks like there is literally a pox upon our house. And by house, we obviously mean body. But, rest assured, the red patches on our skin are not poison ivy, chicken pox, symptoms of Ebola, mumps, measles, small pox or anything else you can catch or that otherwise may decimate the human population.

8. Stressing out about stressing out

gif of a frustrated Stitch from Lilo and Stitch

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Since stress only exacerbates your psoriasis, worrying about being too stressed stresses you out, which then leads to stress flare-ups — which stress you out even more. See how that works? It’s a vicious cycle.

9. Sounding like a character on Grey’s Anatomy in casual conversation

gif of Christina Yang telling Meredith Grey you are my person

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Should you be fortunate enough to encounter a fellow psoriasis suffer, two things will inevitably happen: You will instantly forge everlasting bonds of friendship based on your mutual suffering, and your ensuing conversation will be so filled with medical jargon you half expect Ellen Pompeo to round the corner.

10. Forgoing beloved bubble baths in favor of seemingly six-second showers

gif of cat jumping into a tub full of water and immediately jumping out

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The more time your skin is in contact with hot water, the drier it becomes. And the drier it becomes, the more severe your flare-ups are. When you do throw caution to the wind and draw a bubble bath, you put so much epsom salt in it’s basically the Dead Sea.

11. Knowing you’re going to regret that glass of wine every single time

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Yet, still drinking it. ‘Cause, wine.

12. Feeling simultaneously sorry and grossed out about your “angel dust”

gif of Reese Witherspoon giving a disgusted expression

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Doesn’t it completely creep you out knowing that you leave a little piece of yourself (or, rather, lots of them) behind everywhere you go? Clearly, you could never be a serial killer. Uh, not that you would want to. And, yes, we totally gave our dandruff a cutesy nickname — deal with it.

13. Being offered unsolicited advice by everyone and their uncle…

gif of Kim Kardashian yawning

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None of whom have actually ever experienced psoriasis. What’s that you say? Your aunt’s cousin’s uncle’s third cousin has a great remedy? Do tell.

14. Having your dermatologist on speed dial

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You spend so much time talking to your dermatologist and visiting the office that you’ve often thought they should institute a reward card system. You know, like, on your tenth visit you get a sandwich.

15. Trading your dignity for a treatment that actually works

gif of Snookie drinking pickle juice

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Did that homeopathic apple cider vinegar head bath actually work? Yes. Did it prompt friends, family and generally everyone within standing distance of you to tell you that you smell like a bag of salt and vinegar chips or a jar of pickles? Yep.

16. Feeling like a half-human/half-snail hybrid

gif of man dressed up as a snail crossing the street

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Everywhere you go, you leave a smear or smudge, thanks to the greasy medicated ointments you must layer on your skin to prevent the world from infecting your flare-ups.

17. Needing the sun — and also hating it

gif of sensitive Elliot Richards from Bedazzled

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Vitamin D is a psoriasis sufferer’s bestie. It’s not a vanity thing, honestly — the sun seriously helps keep flare-ups at bay. Until, that is, you score yourself a sunburn and your life turns into a living, breathing purgatory of skin torture. See also: knowing that the hotter it gets, the more likely it is people will give you the side-eye for wearing clothing that covers 97 percent of your body.

18. Trying to zen yourself into not scratching

gif of black bear scratching against a sign post

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You know when you have an itch you really want to scratch but can’t? This is what life is like for a psoriasis sufferer — to the umpteenth degree. We’re like Atlas, if he stepped in an antbed before having that globe tossed on his back.

19. Fearing the night

gif of Freddy Krueger flexing his claw glove

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While we may be able to zen ourselves into not scratching during the day, we can’t fight the moonlight. Try waking up with so many mysterious scratches you’re positive you met Freddy Krueger in your dreams.

20. Being cursed with an overactive immune system

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On the plus side, your skin can scab over a cut so quick you sometimes wonder if you could grow an extra limb like a starfish. On the downside, you have so much skin your body totally doesn’t know what to do with it. Hence, angel dust.

21. Volunteering for every clinical trial and alternative therapy

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When you hear seaweed can combat flare-ups, you seriously ponder enlisting a buddy to wrap you like a giant piece of sushi. Like the vinegar head bath, you’ll give anything a shot if it means you can live a day free from the evils of psoriasis.

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored advertising collaboration.

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