World Psoriasis Day: Be Informed

Each year on World Psoriasis Day (October 29th), the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) and its 56 national and regional psoriasis organisation members, join together to raise awareness of psoriasis, estimated to affect approximately 73,000 in Ireland.


October 2020 marks the second year of our three-year campaign: Connected, Informed, United. The theme for World Psoriasis Day 2020 is “INFORMED” and having up-to-date, accessible information is key to helping individuals understand and manage their psoriasis.

The ISF is calling on people to take this opportunity to become better informed about their psoriasis and how to manage it.

To learn more about the condition, people can access our psoriasis information page or download our information booklet, What you need to know about psoriasis.

To get you started we’ve put together some of the things we think it’s important for you to know about psoriasis below.

Psoriasis and co-morbidities

Psoriasis is a serious, chronic and non-communicable disease (NCDs) in itself, but there are a number of other conditions (called co-morbidities) that are associated with psoriasis, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psoriatic arthritis, diabetes and depression.

A recent study carried out at University Hospital Waterford, examined patient awareness of co-morbidities and found that while patients were well informed on the associations with arthritis and depression, fewer than one in five people with psoriasis in Ireland is aware of their increased risk of heart and inflammatory bowel disease.

People with more extensive or severe psoriasis are more likely to have co-morbidities. It is estimated that at least 9000 people in Ireland have severe psoriasis. It is vital that patients are aware of these risks, so they can ask their doctor whether they should be screened or require treatment.

Learn more about co-morbidities on our psoriasis information page or in our information booklet, What you need to know about psoriasis.

Scalp psoriasis

The scalp is one of the most common sites to be affected by psoriasis, and sometimes the only area of involvement. Almost 80% of people with psoriasis will have scalp involvement at some point in their lives, and it is not unusual for the scalp to be the first site to display symptoms of psoriasis.

Some people suffer with mild psoriasis of the scalp whilst others can experience severe scalp psoriasis which can cause intense itching. Other symptoms include dry and flaky scalp, red scaly patches, a burning sensation or soreness and temporary hair loss.

The ISF Managing Scalp Psoriasis leaflet includes a step-by-step treatment section which includes some really useful techniques you can use at home to treat your scalp psoriasis with over-the-counter and prescribed treatments.

Psoriasis patients self-report COVID-19 experience

PsoProtect, an international registry for health care providers to report outcomes of COVID-19 in individuals with psoriasis, launched PsoProtectMe, a further initiative for patients to self-report their own experiences during the pandemic.

PsoProtectMe seeks to understand the experiences, symptoms and health behaviours of individuals with psoriasis during the pandemic. Anyone with psoriasis from all over the world, whether or not they have had COVID-19, can take part in a simple online survey which takes between 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey asks about symptoms, psoriasis treatments and any underlying health conditions people with psoriasis may have. If the person has had COVID-19, the survey will explore how this has affected them and their psoriasis.

This information will inform clinicians when assessing risk and treating COVID-19 patients with psoriasis.

For more on COVID-19 and Skin Conditions visit our information page.

Not just a physical burden

Along with the physical burden of psoriasis, the often-visible nature of the disease means people living with the condition may have to cope with the reactions of others to the appearance of their skin. This can impact negatively on quality of life, self-esteem, social and personal relationships, which can then take an emotional, psychological and psychosocial toll on people with psoriasis.

In 2019, the ISF, in conjunction with Novartis, launched a new set of resources for the #AskHowIFeel campaign, designed to encourage those living with psoriasis to seek support from others and to have more open conversations about how the condition impacts their lives not just physically, but emotionally.

The dedicated resources include videos that feature patient advocate, Caroline Irwin in conversation with Clinical Psychologist, Dr Eddie Murphy and focus on several topics including: the common challenges, pathways to support, and working with your healthcare professional, particularly your GP.

Visit the #AskHowIFeel page.

Separately a recent set of studies conducted by Dr. Alan Maddock and colleagues investigated the potential effectiveness of a promising holistic mindfulness intervention, named Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on psoriasis, anxiety, depression and psychological wellbeing. Dr Maddock explains the impact of MBCT on psoriasis in the video below.

Emollient therapy

Emollient (moisturiser) therapy is often used in the management of a number of skin conditions, including psoriasis. Emollients are moisturisers that come in the form of lotions, creams and ointments. They repair and protect the skin barrier. They hydrate and trap moisture in the skin. Emollient therapy improves symptoms resulting in decreased dryness, flaking, cracking, scaling, resulting in reduced itch and inflammation.

However, with such a wide variety of emollients available on the market today, the ISF nurse team are often asked what products are the best fit for people who need to use emollients regularly.

In the video below, our Health Promotion Manager, Michelle Greenwood, sits down with Dermatology Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Carmel Blake, to provide a general overview and guide on emollients: how they work; the different types; best practice for application; how much to use; and some other tips and tricks to help you with your emollient therapy routine.


Remember, you are not alone with psoriasis!

The ISF operates a free Ask-a-Nurse Helpline which supports people living with psoriasis. We offer guidance, information and peer-to-peer support. If you, or someone you care about, would like some assistance or to learn about ways to manage psoriasis or another skin condition contact us today.

For more information about psoriasis, visit our Psoriasis Section to download our booklet, What you need to know about Psoriasis or contact the ISF Helpline for one-to-one information and support.