What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is the most common skin condition found in the world; characterized by thick, scaly patches on the skin. Commonly found on elbows, knees, scalps, lower backs, faces, palms, and soles, psoriasis causes inflammation that can also affect nails, as well as the liver, the largest organ of the body.
Psoriasis affects people of all ages and skin colors, but it is most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. Despite the fact that psoriasis cannot be cured, there are treatments that can control symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Types of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is generally categorized into five types: plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common, often appearing as red patches with silvery white dead skin cells accruing over them.
Most people who suffer from psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. It is characterized by raised, red patches covered with a silvery white accumulation of dead skin cells. Known as plaques, these patches may occur anywhere on your body, but they are often found on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. Plaque psoriasis can be mild or severe. Mild cases may be limited to a few small patches. But large patches or widespread plaque psoriasis can be very uncomfortable and disabling.
Guttate psoriasis is characterized by small, round lesions that develop quickly, in crops. The lesions are often red with a white center. Most often, they appear on the trunk, arms, and legs, but they can appear anywhere on the body. The symptoms of guttate psoriasis usually begin in childhood or early adulthood. It sometimes develops after an earache or strep throat. People with guttate psoriasis usually have a history of one or more viral infections, such as a sore throat. Emotional stress can also trigger guttate psoriasis.
Affected individuals with inverse psoriasis (also known as intertrigonous psoriasis), suffer from smooth, red patches that appear over time in the folds of their bodies, such as the under the breasts and around the groin. Inverse psoriasis is often aggravated by friction and sweating.
Inverse psoriasis often affects large areas of the body, such as the armpits, groin, buttocks, and breastbone. Inverse psoriasis can also affect small areas of skin, such as the area around the navel or genitals.
Psoriasis pustular is a rare form of the disease. It is often seen in people who have either plaque or erythrodermic psoriasis and can affect either of those conditions. Pustules are small, raised bumps filled with pus that can appear on any part of the skin. It is common for redness to surround them. Pustular psoriasis can occur in localized areas, such as the hands and feet, or it can be widespread.
There are various forms of psoriasis, but erythrodermic psoriasis is particularly severe, causing complete skin redness and peeling. It can be very painful and itchy, and it often leads to fever, chills, and dehydration. Those who suspect they have this type of psoriasis should seek medical attention immediately as it can cause life-threatening complications.
Causes of Psoriasis
With psorisis, having excessive growth of skin cells is the result of a chronic, inflammatory condition of the skin caused by an overreactive immune system. Although the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
There is no transmission of psoriasis from one person to another, as it is not contagious. However, the condition can be inherited, so it is more common in people who have a family history of the disorder.
There is no cure for psoriasis. However, the symptoms can be controlled and the quality of life can be improved with many treatment options available.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
There are many different symptoms of psoriasis, and they can vary depending on the type of psoriasis you have.
The following are common symptoms of psoriasis:
-Scaly, silvery patches of skin over red areas
-Scaling spots on the skin (common in children)
-Skin that is dry, cracked, and bleeding
-A feeling of itching, burning, or soreness
-Nails that are thick, pitted, or ridged
-Joint swelling and stiffness
Psoriasis can also cause changes to your nails, such as pitting, ridging, discoloration, or detachment from the nail bed. A severe case of psoriasis can cause psoriatic arthritis as well.
Treatment of Psoriasis
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are many treatment options that can help reduce the symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Creams and ointments
Psoriasis is often treated with ointment or cream. Both can help to soothe and heal the skin. They are applied directly to the skin to help reduce inflammation and irritation. Creams are generally thinner and more watery than ointments, which are thicker and greasier. Creams are generally more moisturizing than ointments, but both can be effective in reducing the symptoms of psoriasis.
It is important to note that many creams contain corticosteroids such as cortisone or hydrocortisone, which can be effective in reducing inflammation but can also cause side effects. For this reason, creams and ointments containing corticosteroids should be avoided if possible.
Instead a better option for topical medication is a product like Dermeleve, which does not contain corticosteroids. Containing natural ingredients, Dermeleve is both fast acting (relief in less than five minutes), and long lasting (up to five hours from a single application).
And due to the fact that there are no corticosteroids in Dermeleve, it is perfectly safe for frequent and long term use.
- Light therapy
Psoriasis can be treated with light therapy, also known as phototherapy. Phototherapy works by using ultraviolet (UV) light to slow down the overproduction of skin cells. Phototherapy uses two types of UV light: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA is a long-wave UV light that penetrates deep into the skin and is used to treat psoriasis that is located on the body. UVB is a short-wave UV light that penetrates the skin more shallowly and is used to treat psoriasis that is located on the scalp, face, or genital area.
Phototherapy is a safe and effective treatment for psoriasis. It is often the first line of treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. Phototherapy is typically administered in a doctor's office, and a number of treatments are usually required to achieve the desired results.
- Oral medications
Oral medications are used to treat psoriasis because they can help to quickly clear up the psoriasis patches on the skin. Different types of oral medications can be used, each working differently. Some oral medications are designed to suppress the immune system, while others are designed to interfere with the overactive cells that are causing the psoriasis.
The most common type of oral medications are called systemic medications because they affect the entire body. Inflammation and scaling associated with psoriasis are reduced by suppressing the immune system with these medications. In most cases, they are prescribed to people with moderate to severe psoriasis who have failed to respond to other treatments.
Oral medications can be a great way to clear up psoriasis patches, but they can also have some side effects. Some of the common side effects of oral medications include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hair loss. If you are considering taking oral medications, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
- Injectable medications
Injectable medications are used to treat psoriasis because they can quickly deliver medication to the areas of the skin that need it. Injectables are also used when other treatments, like topical medications and phototherapy, have not been effective on their own.
The use of injectables can be combined with other treatments or used alone. Injectable medications are used to treat psoriasis because they can provide a more targeted and consistent treatment than topical medications, oral medications or light therapy. Injectable medications are delivered directly to the site of the psoriasis, which allows for a higher concentration of the medication at the site of the psoriasis and a lower concentration of the medication in the rest of the body. This can lead to fewer side effects than other treatments. Injectable medications also provide a more consistent treatment than other treatments, which can be especially helpful for people with severe psoriasis.
Injectables work by suppressing the immune system, which is what causes the overgrowth of skin cells that leads to psoriasis. However, because injectables suppress the immune system, they can also increase the risk of infection and other side effects.
Prevention of Psoriasis
There is no guarantee that psoriasis can be prevented. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk.
- Avoid triggers. Psoriasis can be triggered by many things, so try to bypass those triggers.
- Keep skin healthy. Moisturize regularly and don't overwash or scrub your skin too harshly.
- Reduce stress. Stress can worsen psoriasis symptoms, so try to find ways to relax and manage stress effectively.