OREANDA-NEWS. September 26, 2016. If you’ve ever assumed that psoriasis is little more than a cosmetic issue, you would not be the first. According to the IFPA, the chronic inflammatory disorder affects roughly 125 million people worldwide, but it's still largely misunderstood. Because skin lesions are often the most obvious symptom of the disease, many write off psoriasis as only skin deep, ignoring its physical, mental and emotional toll.

A recent 49-page World Health Organization (WHO) global report debunked this myth, bringing the public health impact of psoriasis into focus with the message that much of the suffering caused by this common and complex disease can be avoided.

I just want to feel comfortable with myself and live normally, without the shame of showing myself.

anonymous psoriasis patient

Inspired by the WHO report, we partnered with 25 patient organizations around the world to survey 8,300 patients from 31 countries, the largest global psoriasis survey to date.

But data tells only part of the story. To make the results more tangible, we commissioned an artist – body painter Natalie Fletcher, who also has psoriasis – to interpret survey participants’ experiences, using skin as her canvas.

Fletcher took inspiration from survey participants’ answers. Here are their words and the pictures they inspired: