Psoriasis is a skin disorder than can occur at any age in both men and women. There are five types, each with unique signs and symptoms. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. About 80% of people who develop psoriasis have plaque psoriasis, which appears as patches of raised, reddish skin covered by silvery-white scale. These patches, or plaques, frequently form on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp. However, the plaques can occur anywhere on the body. Regardless of type, psoriasis usually causes discomfort. The skin often itches, and it may crack and bleed. In severe cases, the itching and discomfort may keep a person awake at night, and the pain can make everyday tasks difficult. People often experience flares and remissions throughout their life. Controlling the signs and symptoms typically requires lifelong therapy. People with psoriasis commonly go through periods of embarrassment, frustration, and depression about their condition. Because psoriasis affects exposed skin, it is a highly visible disease.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder, which means it can last a long time and can come back frequently. It is most common in people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Psoriasis is rare under age 3. Most people who develop it do so before age 30. In the United States, about two or three out of every 100 people have psoriasis. Contrary to popular belief, psoriasis is not an infection and it is not contagious. Touching the affected skin and then touching someone else will not transmit psoriasis.
While scientists still do not fully know what causes psoriasis, research has significantly advanced our understanding. Researchers now believe that psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition. This means the condition is caused by faulty signals in the body’s immune system. It is believed that psoriasis develops when the immune system tells the body to over-react and accelerate the growth of skin cells. Normally, skin cells mature and are shed from the skin’s surface every 28 to 30 days. When psoriasis develops, the skin cells mature in 3 to 6 days and move to the skin surface. Instead of being shed, the skin cells pile up, causing the visible lesions. Psoriasis can be inherited. Researchers have identified genes that cause psoriasis. These genes determine how a person’s immune system reacts. These genes can cause psoriasis. Research indicates that a “trigger” is needed. Stress, skin injuries, a strep infection, certain medications, and sunburn are some of the known potential triggers. Medications that can trigger psoriasis are anti-malarial drugs, beta-blockers (medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions), and lithium. Dermatologists have seen psoriasis suddenly appear after a person takes one of these medications, gets a strep infection, or experiences another trigger.
Treatment for psoriasis varies depending on the type of psoriasis, the extent and severity of the disease and the age, sex, and lifestyle of the affected person. Unfortunately, none of the available treatments for psoriasis is a cure. Treatment can often control the disease for long periods, but the disease can come back when treatment stops. The various treatment methods include topical therapy, phototherapy and systemic therapy.
An important part in the treatment of psoriasis is moisturizing the skin. The market, alternative and medical, is full of moisturizing products that give varying degrees of beneficial results. Of course, because psoriasis is an autoimmune dysfunction, no amount of external treatment will “cure” the problem. However there is one tried and proven topical treatment from the natural therapy field that has shown very good results. Aloe vera was shown in one study to be effective in treating psoriasis externally. Many sufferers report that taking a dietary supplement containing adequate and proper quantities of pure aloe vera extract, enhances significantly the topical treatment of applying aloe vera to the affected areas.
According to a double-blind study that enrolled 60 men and women with mild to moderate symptoms of psoriasis, it was found that aloe vera cream may have been helpful for this chronic skin condition. Participants were treated with either topical aloe vera extract (0.5%) or a placebo cream, applied 3 times daily for 4 weeks. Aloe treatment produced significantly better results than the placebo, and these results were said to endure for almost a year after treatment was stopped while some patients did not see a return of the psoriasis. A recent study conducted at the Malmo University Hospital in Sweden confirmed this by coming out with findings in same line.
These are not surprising as aloe vera is known for its skin friendly properties from ages. Aloe vera is used in many skin care products like creams, lotions, lip balm, soap and aloe gel for sunburn because of its beneficial healing and regenenerative properties. Particularly, the soap has become a craze among people. Aloe vera as a soap content works wonders on skin especially people affected with psoriasis. It is claimed by researchers that this soap is more effective than over the counter creams and it has no known toxic side effects. The use of aloe vera soap in the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis is considered a safe alternative treatment for psoriasis patients. There are so many testimonials stating that psoriasis has really cleared up in all affected places after using aloe vera soap, gel, cream and shampoo. Some say that anything they had got from the chemist hadn’t worked as fast or as effectively as these products did. All these confirm the usefulness of aloe vera soap in the treatment of psoriasis.