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July 15, 1974

The Heartbreak of Psoriasis

JAMA. 1974;229(3):334. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230410058032

IT is unfortunate that commercials on radio, television, in newspapers, and elsewhere portray mild scaling of the scalp or skin as "the heartbreak of psoriasis." Many individuals with mild dryness of their skin or ordinary dandruff immediately begin to worry that they may have psoriasis, a fear that may not be dispelled easily. Also, patients with psoriasis eagerly purchase each new product in hope of helping their disease. These advertised formulations are quite bland and have very little, if any, beneficial effect in controlling the lesions of psoriasis.

The reasons for these commercials are quite obvious. They are profitable to the manufacturer and the advertising media. However, it is probable that more harm than good comes from this approach to treating patients with psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a common but complicated disease that is not amenable to control by over-the-counter or through-the-tube preparations. In fact, detailed regimens worked out on a