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Psoriasis and shaking hands

ShakeTo shake, or not to shake?

I work in an office. It’s not exciting, I can assure you – but there are certain protocols that must be followed; like  shaking hands with colleagues and business associates.

I am what you might refer to as ‘middle management’. This means that I have a number of staff under my care, but no actual authority whatsoever.

I am sure a number of you can relate to that. But in that position, I do have contact with our customers, shareholders and partners. Meetings happen, new business acquaintances are made, and fresh working relationships begun.

The welcome

So a date is arranged, a meeting room is booked, and, at the appropriate time, the parties gather. Introductions are made.

I announce my name – perhaps to a nod of recognition – we have probably spoken on the phone before today, and he or she reaches out their hand to shake mine.

This can be terrifying…

My hands are a mess of psoriasis scales. I’m not going to say that this does not bother me; because it does. But for the most part, I can cope with my own individual issues. But a handshake, that intimate moment – puts my issues directly in the hands of another. Will they notice? Will they look at my flaky hand and think that they would rather not touch it? Perhaps they will do it anyway, and then surreptitiously wipe their hand afterwards? More to the point – is it right for me to subject them to that uncertainty? Or would a refusal on my part to shake hands (purely in the other person’s interests) be seen as a slight or offence?

The choice

I find this to be a genuinely difficult dilemma. Ultimately, however – I do the only thing that my logic and ego dictate. I think “sod it – at least I know my hands are clean – yours could have been anywhere!”, and I reach out with total confidence and a firm grip. If they have a problem with it, then frankly – that’s their problem. Me – I’m not ashamed of my skin. I don’t like it much, but I am not ashamed.

So – reach out your hand and have no fear.

For overnight relief of sore hands, I use a pair of these gloves:
Jasmine Silk Ultmate Pure Silk Moisturising Gloves Adult Eczema Hands Skincare One Size - Unisex

Nigel Beckett

August 5th 2018

1 thought on “Psoriasis and shaking hands

  1. Karen

    Totally understand Nigel. I have had 45+ years of Psoriasis (since birth basically). I have it in my scalp, which as you or other P suffers know is so annoying, everyone things I have a bad case of Dandruff, but little do they know!!
    I also have it on my elbows and calves of legs which is bad in summer, as everyone looks at you as if you have something you are going to catch.
    Since moving from UK to Australia, it has reduced, I try to get as much sun as I can. But it is embarrassing and it shouldn't have to be.

    I have started to use Hemp lotion from the Bodyshop, which seems to stop the itching on my skin anyway. Shampoo I use Argan Oil, which reduces the flakiness.


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