Money and psoriasis

Prescription and over-the-counter medicines were the main financial cost of psoriasis for young people, but other costs were mentioned too. These costs were a big concern for those young people we spoke to with low and unstable incomes, such as students/recent graduates and people early on in their careers. Adam remembers T-gel (coal-tar shampoo) wasn’t available on prescription when he was a child and his family couldn’t afford it. He used a generic prescribed version but he didn’t like it.
Some people received prescription medicines for free (for example, if they were under age 16 or up to age 18 in full time education or on Job Seekers Allowance), others had to pay for their treatments. This includes for topical treatments provided on prescription (emollients, bath oils, soap substitutes, steroid creams). Lisa didn’t have to pay for prescriptions after she applied to the NHS Low Income Scheme (via HC1 forms) while she was a university student. Simon’s prescription costs were waived when he was on Job Seekers Allowance but he pays for them now he’s in his first job. These costs can put people off trying new things or buying them again. Zara’s dermatologist gave her five pairs of special socks to help her creams soak in, but she’s had to buy more online since. Some people who had several prescriptions a month bought a Prescription Pre-payment Certificate, which could help them with budgeting and reduce the cost of getting multiple prescriptions.
Many people also used products they bought online or in shops (e.g. cosmetic moisturisers, shower gels, shampoos, deodorants, face and body make-up, hair styling products, bandages). People had bought many different products to try and improve their skin. Sometimes people opted for a more expensive version of these products and this was the case for Steven who bought a hair gel which didn’t sting his scalp. Not everyone agreed that expensive products were better though. Some people thought that struggling with psoriasis could make someone “desperate” and vulnerable to scams or spend a lot of money on unhelpful products.
Most people had seen doctors on the NHS, but a few had seen private dermatologists (see also about help from medical professionals). Some people had paid to see alternative therapy practitioners and treatments.

Other costs associated with psoriasis include:
  • travel to medical appointments/treatment – Megan and her mum had to pay for buses to her phototherapy sessions.
  • extra laundry costs (doing laundry more often because of topical treatments being messy, finding detergents that don’t irritate the skin)
  • water and heating bills, for those who showered/bathed more to soothe their skin and applying topical treatments


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