Chronic skin conditions, including vitiligo and psoriasis, are associated with discrimination and stigma due to lack of awareness and acceptance in the society. Numerous myths and ill-information prevalent in the society about these health challenges which are far from reality.
These skin conditions are ‘innocent’ in nature
In medical terms, vitiligo and psoriasis are not infectious problems; they are not caused by any external bacteria or micro-organism. Hence, there is no way these skin conditions can be transmitted by living together, eating from the same plate, sharing personal stuff or having a physical relationship. Moreover, these skin conditions are neither life-threatening nor painful in nature. Hence, apart from affecting the physical appearance of a person, vitiligo and psoriasis don’t affect the quality of life largely.
Being autoimmune skin conditions, they don’t have a cure as of now. However, with the help of proper medical diagnosis, along with positive changes in diet, lifestyle and use of stress management techniques, a person can manage these skin conditions to live a fulfilling life.
Interestingly, autoimmunity is quite a common health challenge these days. For instance, type 2 diabetes is also an autoimmune health issue. But, it doesn’t bring social stigma because it is skin deep, whereas vitiligo and psoriasis are just there at the skin bringing more public attention, stares and stigma.
The stigma has wide-ranging effects on a person’s life
This everyday silent struggle can affect multiple domains of a person’s life, including education, career, social life and relationship. In recent times, things have improved considerably and education and career prospects are not affected by the ‘skin’ thing as such.
Marriage woes can destroy self-esteem and confidence
When it comes to marriage, vitiligo and psoriasis are considered as a major obstacle in finding a suitable life-partner. The randomly scattered skin lesions just overshadow all the personal and professional traits of an individual and dry down the marriage prospects severely.
Fed up with rejections and delay in marriage, in many cases, people make unwanted compromises in choosing their life-partners and settle for less. In India, parents of a girl with vitiligo are often forced to give heavy dowry to get their daughter married.
The struggle goes on even after the marriage
This frustrating struggle doesn’t cease with marriage. But, in actual, it gets worse if the spouse or the in-laws are not mature enough to accept the skin condition. More the stress and emotional trauma more will be the trouble. Hence, if you are constantly over-conscious about your appearance, it will actually act as a catalyst for further spreading of the skin condition. If you are constantly fighting the anticipatory fears like- Is my spouse comfortable with my skin condition; how my spouse and in-laws will react if my skin problem increases further – it will eventually have a counterproductive effect on your skin health as well as your overall quality of life.
Unfortunately, vitiligo and psoriasis have been the ground for marriage failures in some cases as well.
The way ahead- looking for a partner on the same boat
To end all these long-term challenges, many of the prospective brides and grooms these days are choosing their life-partners with similar skin conditions. It puts a full stop on many of their marriage woes. When both the partners have similar life experiences, they feel extremely comfortable in each other’s company and rise above the fear of judgement or feeling of insecurity to live a more secure, peaceful and fulfilling life. Their parents and family members also support this decision for long-lasting relief.
The quest for a safe matchmaking platform
None of the leading matrimonial sites has a separate section for people with chronic skin conditions. It makes it quite a difficult and tricky task to search a life-partner with similar skin condition among thousands of matching profiles on these platforms. That’s why some people even try their luck on Facebook to discover their soulmate which is not a safe and convenient mode for matrimonial purposes.
To address this need of the hour, DermaMatrimony.com, a matrimonial marriage platform for people with chronic skin conditions, has been launched in March 2018. The founder of DermaMatrimony.com, Ashish Agarwal, is dealing with Psoriasis himself and can understand the marital troubles of fellow people with such skin issues.
“I have got psoriasis around 12 years back and I have been through all sorts of experiences that a person with a chronic skin challenge can be exposed to. More than 2-3% of the world’s population is dealing with chronic skin conditions, including vitiligo, psoriasis, albinism, burn, scar, & other skin challenges. Majority of them struggle to find suitable life-partners. Medically, these skin conditions are non-contagious and non-fatal in nature without any serious impact on the everyday activities of a person. Still, when it comes to marriages, due to lack of awareness and acceptance, skin conditions act as a ‘handicap’ to hamper the marriage prospects.
DermaMatrimony.com aims to help people with chronic skin conditions get married without compromising on their self-esteem and dignity. We are hopeful that this social enterprise will bring long-lasting positive changes in the lives of thousands of prospective brides and grooms and their families who are paying a heavy price of social ignorance towards skin challenges.”