Many people with psoriasis face challenges trying to manage their symptoms, find effective treatment, or develop a psoriasis-friendly skin care or scalp-care routine.

People with psoriasis may also experience stigma related to the condition, which can negatively affect mental health and interactions with others.

If you have psoriasis, using online platforms to connect with other people with psoriasis may help you feel less alone in managing the challenges of this condition. You might find it helpful to talk about your own experiences, hear about other people’s stories, and share practical tips and resources for managing psoriasis.

Healthline spoke with Ayesha Patrick to learn about the benefits of online support for psoriasis and how to find it. Patrick is the founder of The PsoriaSis Collective and Sistas With Psoriasis Online Facebook Support Group, which offers online support to women of color with psoriasis.

Here’s what she had to say.

This interview has been edited for brevity, length, and clarity.

I think whatever your condition is, having the space and capability to connect with others, whether they’re right there in the room with you or not, allows you to grow and learn.

At the top of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had my worst-ever psoriasis flare-up. At that point, I was 40. I had been living my whole life with pretty mild psoriasis and had never experienced it to that degree. It was all over my body, I lost all my hair in the crown of my scalp, and I had to learn how to manage the disease differently.

Because it was the pandemic, I couldn’t get out or go anywhere.

So, I connected online with the National Psoriasis Foundation. I also searched for psoriasis groups on Facebook.

I used these groups to connect and get resources.

A lot of people don’t understand what you’re going through, so being able to share and vent with someone who’s experiencing similar things is very helpful. I can share my truth in these groups. They get it.

My dermatologist wasn’t culturally competent, so I went to Facebook groups to get advice, like: “Does anyone know a Black dermatologist? Or a practice where they see people of color?”

But I didn’t see other people in the groups that looked like me — a Black woman or a Black person in general.

I really wanted to connect with other Black women who were dealing with the same issues I was, especially with the scalp. Because how psoriasis presents on our skin is different. Our hair is different. We’re gonna use different products or management strategies.

That’s how Sistas With Psoriasis was birthed, with me trying to find a space where women of color with psoriasis could connect and support each other. I thought, if that space doesn’t exist, let me create it!

Anybody can follow @sistaswithpsoriasis on Instagram, but the Facebook group is a private group for women of color with psoriasis. I try to make sure that whoever joins fits the criteria because we want people to have that safe space to learn, support, and share with each other.

If you need to get facts about psoriasis that are backed by medical research or connect with a person who can assist you, I would recommend the National Psoriasis Foundation. They have a Patient Navigation Center, as well as the One to One mentoring program.

If you just want a place where you can connect, communicate, and share experiences with others, you can type in “psoriasis” on Facebook, and different groups will pop up.

Just be mindful that there is a lot of misinformation and a lot of people pushing fake remedies on social media.

And as groups get bigger, it gets harder for whoever’s managing them to vet people. I think that’s something that some groups do better than others, making sure that people are not going there to sell stuff or give false hope.

The internet is a wealth of resources, but it can also get a little tricky — so make sure you do your own homework. Don’t just jump on whatever people are saying. You want to make sure that it’s actually good information.

Rely on your medical team. Ask your dermatologist. If you have a mentor through a program, such as the National Psoriasis Foundation, ask your mentor if they know anything about it. Do some research.

I think knowledge is power, so ask questions and reach out to people who may know.

Ayesha Patrick has lived with psoriasis for most of her life, but her symptoms didn’t become severe until after age 40. Her search for culturally competent support led her to create The PsoriaSis Collective and Sistas With Psoriasis Online Facebook Support Group for women of color with psoriatic conditions. She also volunteers with the National Psoriasis Foundation as a patient advocate and a mentor in the One to One peer support program.