Scales, redness, itching and pain often make the everyday life of those affected by the chronic inflammatory skin disease known as psoriasis torture. The subject of training or working with psoriasis often represents an additional psychological burden for the patients.
It is not uncommon for prejudices, misconceptions and the half-knowledge of fellow human beings to make those affected by psoriasis feel impaired and excluded in their social lives. Career choice and everyday work life are particularly difficult for patients when the disease occurs on visible parts of the body, such as the face, head, or hands and nails.
Are my career options limited due to psoriasis? What should you pay attention to when choosing your job and training with psoriasis? Can you have your dream job with psoriasis? We will give you information and tips on choosing a career and passing the job interview, as well as general advice on working with psoriasis!
Career choice: Dream job with psoriasis – (im)possible?
Nearly all patients with a chronic inflammatory skin disease sooner or later find out that the disease affects their whole life to a certain extent.
This also applies to patients with psoriasis. For example, in daily skincare, which often takes more time than in people who are not ill. Or due to the puzzled and sometimes even judgmental looks of others in their leisure activities and their social lives.
Last but not least, psoriasis of course also has an effect on your apprenticeship or your everyday working life. Many people affected by psoriasis are also faced with the question of their choice of career.
Does psoriasis affect your choice of an apprenticeship and the nature of your professional work?
What should you be aware of?
Questions upon questions – which must be answered individually for each patient with psoriasis. But one thing in advance: in the vast majority of cases, psoriasis is no obstacle to choosing your dream job!
Working with psoriasis
As a chronic inflammatory skin disease, psoriasis progresses in phases. The episodes are not predictable and are of course a physical, but also a psychological burden for those affected.
In individual cases of a very severe severity and form of the skin disease, it can lead to far-reaching impairments in an individual’s professional life. In the vast majority of cases, however, all professional doors are open to you even WITH psoriasis.
Personal inclinations, abilities and interests are also the decisive factors for the choice of apprenticeship or profession for patients with psoriasis. You should only think more carefully about which professions are more or less suitable for your personal psoriasis as an afterthought.
Career choice with psoriasis: What do I have to look out for?
Depending on the form and severity of your psoriasis, there can be various disease-related issues when choosing a training position or job. As is so often the case with psoriasis, the same applies when choosing a career: Knowledge is power!
Every patient has their own psoriasis. And we are not only talking about the form and characteristics of the disease. You should also consider which parts of the body are affected and what your personal trigger factors are. It is also important to know how the course of relapse and the necessary therapy and treatment associated with it usually take place.
These are all questions that must be answered individually for each patient. Consequently, the answers may also have a different impact on your choice of apprenticeship or work. The emphasis here is clearly on the word “can” – not have to.
As diverse as our world is today, so are your options for choosing a career. It is important that you inform yourself in advance about the different working conditions, work processes, working materials used, etc. You can then use this information to try to assess in advance whether and to what extent triggers exist and whether there could be problems due to illness.
Problematic factors and areas that could lead to a deterioration of your skin include
- Frequent contact with water and other liquids,
- Extreme climatic conditions (e.g. warm and humid environment, very high/low temperatures, strong temperature fluctuations),
- Regular contact with chemicals, cleaning agents and solvents,
- Frequent disinfection of the hands,
- Airtight uniforms and working clothes, and
- Permanent psychological strain (stress).
Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis. Many patients report that continuous stress and psychologically stressful situations lead to a worsening of their psoriasis. In the worst case, stress can even trigger new attacks of psoriasis.
Application, job interview & working with psoriasis: Tips for people affected by psoriasis
Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis are often afraid of being disadvantaged in their search for training and work because of their illness. You yourself, with your attitude and the way you deal with your psoriasis, make a serious contribution to how your potential employer reacts.
Openly dealing with your skin disease
It is not a “must”, but you can make a conscious decision to address your psoriasis directly when you apply for a job or interview. This means you play with an open hand from the start and your employer can in turn make a conscious and informed decision for you.
Working with psoriasis: Inform yourself in advance
Collect as much information as possible about your future employer, working conditions and tasks in advance. If you think about possible trigger factors (triggers) and sources of problems in advance, you can have a solution ready at the same time. In this way, you will quickly convince your employer that your psoriasis does not represent any disadvantages for the company.
Emphasize your strengths
If you decide to deal openly with your illness in the job interview, you should not forget to emphasize your strengths and abilities. Your potential employer may and should take note of your skin disease. However, they should remember your strengths when they think back to your application and the interview.
Perform educational work – if necessary
Despite the high number of people affected with psoriasis, many of the non-affected people unfortunately still know little or nothing about psoriasis. If you have the feeling that your interviewer does not know much about your illness during the interview, then do some educational work.
In this way, you can ensure that the necessary understanding is present. Remember to mention that psoriasis is NOT contagious – this is important information for your future employer.
Psoriasis at work – it’s all a question of attitude
Psoriasis is almost unpredictable, stressful and often exhausting. However, psoriasis is usually not an obstacle in your working life. In almost every profession the doors are open for people affected by psoriasis.
The decisive factor for a smooth start at work and subsequent everyday working life is how you deal with your illness. In addition to dealing openly with your employer and colleagues in order to avoid questioning glances in the future, you must be well informed about your work. You have to be aware from the very beginning that in some professions there may be possible sources of problems caused by illness. However, there is almost always a solution.
Be it additional protective measures such as special clothing, extended skincare or switching to better-tolerated agents or substances during work. Together with your employer and your doctor, there is certainly a way for you to pursue your dream job without noticeable restrictions.
What field do you work in? Are you open about your psoriasis? And what have the reactions of your employer and colleagues been like? Feel free to tell us about it in our Facebook group!
FAQ on working with psoriasis
What jobs can you do with psoriasis?
For patients with psoriasis, personal inclinations, abilities and interests are the decisive factors in their choice of education and profession. The chronic inflammatory skin disease does not represent an obstacle to a particular choice of profession. Nevertheless, affected persons should consider which professions are more or less suitable for their personal psoriasis. Factors such as strong temperature fluctuations, frequent contact with liquids and chemicals and persistent stress can act as triggers and worsen the condition of the skin.
Is psoriasis disadvantageous at work?
Basically, psoriasis can have a negative effect on your job. For example, if you have a job in a trade, the skin can tear more easily. Even in professions that involve customer contact, problems can occur in some cases. However, most problems can be solved with targeted skincare.
Can I be turned down due to my psoriasis?
The General Equal Treatment Act applies here. This means that you are not obliged to mention your chronic illness in the job interview. If you are actively asked, you do not have to answer the question. How openly you deal with your employer regarding your psoriasis is ultimately up to you.
Find all sources
Lantzsch H., Buhles N. (2014): „Rehabilitation bei Psoriasis: Quo vadis?“, in: Aktuelle Dermatologie. URL: https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0034-1365159 (accessed on 11.01.2020)
Mrowietz U., Schmidt-Ott G. (2017): „Schuppenflechte“, Freiburg, Karger, 2017. URL: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/454940 (accessed on 11.01.2020)
Schmid-Ott G., Malewski P., Kreiselmaier I. et al. (2005): „Psychosoziale Folgen der Psoriasis—eine empirische Studie über die Krankheitslast bei 3753 Betroffenen“, in: Hautarzt. URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00105-005-0906-9 (accessed on 11.01.2020)
Schuck V. (2013): „Wie lässt sich der Alltag mit Psoriasis bewältigen?“, in: Ästhetische Dermatologie & Kosmetologie. URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12634-013-0822-4 (accessed on 11.01.2020)
Bernd is one of the founders of Simply Psoriasis. He has been suffering from psoriasis for more than 20 years, but sees the chronic skin disease with more composure than a few years ago (which was a hard work). Nevertheless, he is very keen to make psoriasis easier and more socially accepted.