Jobs, work and psoriasis

Some of the young people we spoke to were currently working or had experience of part-time jobs. Some people said psoriasis didn’t have a big impact on their work, but it had for others. Jack says he has more routine now with his job than when he was at university, which helps with remembering to apply topical treatments.
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Issues related to having psoriasis and work/jobs for people include: 
  • work life and job interviews can be a source of stress
  • uniforms irritating/triggering the skin
  • worry about symptoms being visible and seen by others
  • needing time off work for medical appointments/treatments
  • being tired and less focused at work because of disrupted sleep
  • side effects from psoriasis treatments being visible and drawing attention, such as when Adam’s face was burnt after phototherapy and Lola’s hair being greasy after using a medicated shampoo
Psoriasis can add to the stress of going for a job interview. Some people worried that the appearance of psoriasis made it hard to ‘look professional’. Although employers are not allowed to discriminate against people based on their appearance, a few feared that having psoriasis might hinder them in job interviews. Simon thinks he’s been “turned down for jobs” in the past because of his skin condition and was on Job Seekers Allowance for four years before finding his current job.

People sometimes needed to take time off work to attend medical appointments. Others were able to fit appointments (including for phototherapy treatment) around shifts, but found it could be tiring after a while. Most people said they hadn’t taken time off work because of feeling self-conscious about psoriasis, but Adam remembered once working from home instead of the office when he felt low about his skin.
Some particular types of jobs were talked about by the young people we interviewed. These include:
  • Jobs and volunteer work with children, such as teaching. Some found this could mean being asked questions about their skin. Lucy found it rewarding being able to share her experiences to support students with psoriasis in her classes.

  • Working with food, including waiting tables and catering. People in these jobs often mentioned worries about skin flakes falling into food they were making or serving. Although it hadn’t happened to anyone we spoke to, many worried about customers making complaints. Abbie was pleased when she was allowed to wear a white shirt as her uniform, as skin flakes from her scalp were less visible. 

  • Working in healthcare. Carys is a hospital nurse and thinks that patients were put-off by seeing her skin because they might have falsely believed that psoriasis is something you can catch.

  • Shift-based jobs. Fitting in treatments around shifts was an issue for Abbie, Carys and Simon. This includes going to the hospital for phototherapy and routines of applying topical treatments.
Having psoriasis had shaped the careers that some people chose or hoped to have, in positive as well as negative ways. Megan says that she wanted to be a dancer but tight clothes irritated her psoriasis. Louis is a medical student and says his experience with psoriasis changed how he thinks about treating patients with skin conditions. Damini thinks going into a science career will mean her peers have an understanding about psoriasis.
Some people had supportive employers and colleagues. Lola likes it when her colleagues compliment her skin and remind her not to scratch. A few people had met others with psoriasis through their work and volunteering. It could be nice to talk to them about similar experiences. However, not everyone had positive experiences with colleagues or customers. Some chose to keep the fact they have psoriasis to themselves. When Adam was working in a bar, he once heard his colleagues being rude about a customer with psoriasis which made him feel really upset.


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