Psoriasis is a persistent autoimmune skin disease which is not contagious. Psoriasis affects both the skin and the joints of the individual who is affected by the disease. Psoriasis normally causes the skin of the individual to become red and scaly. Normally, these outbreaks are only in patches. These patches caused by psoriasis are called psoriatic plaques. Psoriatic plaques are patches of skin where the skin has become inflamed and there has been an excessive amount of skin production. The skin produced by the body accumulates at these patches and has a white appearance. The patches occur commonly on the skin around elbows and knees. However, many individuals also report outbreaks on their scalp and their genital region. Psoriasis is different from eczema in the aspect that it is more likely to be located on the extensor point of the joint.
Psoriasis is a persistent condition, but the severity of psoriasis can vary from each individual. Some individuals report mild psoriasis with just a few small patches, while others report severe cases of psoriasis where their whole body or most of their body is affected by the skin disease. The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. The common belief behind the origin of psoriasis is that the skin disease is a genetic disease.
Types of psoriasis
o Plaque psoriasis : plaque psoriasis is the most general type of the skin disease. Plaque psoriasis is responsible for about eighty five percent of all cases of psoriasis . This type of psoriasis normally appears as elevated inflamed regions of skin that are covered with white flaky skin.
o Flexural psoriasis : flexural psoriasis appears as a smooth patch of inflamed skin. Most commonly flexural psoriasis occurs in the bends of the skin. Flexural psoriasis is irritated by perspiration and friction.
o Guttate psoriasis : Guttate psoriasis appears as small round patches. These patches appear over larger areas of the body such as; arms, legs, core section, and scalp.
o Pustular psoriasis : Pustular psoriasis appears as elevated sores that look like blisters because they are filled with pus. Normally these occur on the hands and feet, or wide spread over a larger area.
o Nail psoriasis : Nail psoriasis causes an alteration in the appearance of finger nails and toe nails. These alterations can be discoloration, ridges in the nail, thickening of the skin under the nail, loose nails, nail crumbling, and pitting of the nails.
o Erythrodermic psoriasis : Erythrodermic psoriasis is the broad area of inflammation of the skin. This normally occurs over most of the body. Severe dryness, redness, itching, swelling, and pain may occur.
Symptoms of psoriasis
The symptoms of psoriasis are pretty general. The most common symptoms of psoriasis are areas of skin that appear to be red, inflamed, dry, and flaky skin. Normally the skin on this rash looking area appears as a white or silver color. Some individuals report not only having redness, inflammation, dryness, and flaky skin but also having itchy skin, and slight pain or irritation. These symptoms are normally the only symptoms needed to detect psoriasis . A diagnosis of the skin disease known as psoriasis is generally based on a visual appearance of the skin. Doctors have no need to run tests or other procedures on an individual to determine whether or not they have psoriasis . In some cases, a physician may perform a skin biopsy or pluck a sample of the flaky skin in order to confirm his suspicion about psoriasis .
The treatments for psoriasis
Every individual who is affected by the skin disease known as psoriasis is different. Because every individual is different and because there are various different types of psoriasis the treatments for psoriasis are not always the same. This is why physicians and/or dermatologists perform numerous different trial treatments to see which treatment the patient responds best to. Doctors and dermatologists perform these trials to find the treatment most appropriate and most effective for the patient. Treatment decisions are based on type of psoriasis , the general location, severity, extent, patient’s age, sex, quality of life, and objections about particular treatments all play a role in the treatment plan.
As of 2008, the Federal Drug Administration or FDA introduced three new treatments that they had approved for psoriasis treatment:
o Taclonex Scalp: Taclonex scalp is a topical ointment for individuals looking to treat scalp psoriasis .
o Xtrac Velocity Excimer Laser System: This treatment produces a high level of ultra violet light used to treat moderate to severe cases of psoriasis .
o Adalimumab: This is a biological drug treatment formulated to treat severe cases of psoriasis .
Doctors and dermatologists also use antibiotics in some cases. Generally, antibiotics are not utilized to treat psoriasis but antibiotics are used to fight infection in psoriasis patients.
There are numerous different topical treatments that are suggested by physicians and dermatologists to treat psoriasis . Bath treatments and moisturizers are some of the most common treatments suggested by doctors to treat psoriasis . This is because these bath treatments and moisturizers help calm the patches, reduce redness, and reduce dryness. Ointments that are applied directly to the affected area help reduce irritation, inflammation, remove skin build up, and increase the overall appearance of the affected area.
There are some disadvantages of topical treatments for treating psoriasis . If an individual uses a topical treatment for their psoriasis over a prolonged or extended amount of time, the medication in the topical treatment can cause irritation to normal skin. These topical medications can also have strong odors or stain clothing among numerous other things.
Phototherapy is a treatment often used to psoriasis treatment. Individuals who are exposed to sunlight without burning improve the condition of their psoriasis . This is why phototherapy was created. Phototherapy provides psoriasis patients with exposure to ultra violet rays for a certain amount of time in order to improve their psoriasis .
Photochemotherapy is a procedure used to treat psoriasis in which psoralen and ultraviolet A phototherapy are combined. This procedure is commonly referred to as the PUVA treatment. The psoralen is administered by topical or oral ingestion while the individual also undergoes ultraviolet therapy in order to improve their psoriasis . Individuals who have undergone the PUVA treatment report symptoms of nausea, fatigue, migraines or headaches, or skin irritation. Long term patients of this treatment have been known to develop squamous cell carcinoma.
How to prevent psoriasis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis that will keep it from occurring again. However, there are numerous precautions you can take in order to help lower the severity of your psoriasis and to improve the overall condition. These precautions will not eliminate your psoriasis ; however, they will help alleviate the pain, irritation, severity, inflammation, among other symptoms.
There are numerous factors that are known to cause flare ups in psoriasis . Some of these factors include; stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. You can improve your psoriasis if you can avoid becoming overly stressed or being stressed out frequently. The frequent consumption of alcohol is also proven to aggravate psoriasis so it is suggested that you limit your alcohol consumption to a low amount or eliminate alcohol consumption altogether. Smoking can also cause a flare in your psoriasis . It is recommended that you cut back on smoking, or if you can, quit smoking altogether. If you can limit these factors, or eliminate most of them the severity of your psoriasis is bound to improve.
There are several other precautions you can take. Individuals with psoriasis should avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat, and avoid becoming sun burnt. This may cause your psoriasis to become irritated. You should also continue any treatments that your doctor has suggested. Avoid using topical treatments too often. However, you should use your topical ointments on a regular basis. Another great way to improve your psoriasis is to begin taking oatmeal bath treatments. Oatmeal bath treatments are great for any skin irritation because the oatmeal soothes the skin. It will reduce redness, itching, dryness, irritation, and inflammation. You should also keep your skin moisturized. You should apply an intensive moisturizing lotion each day in order to keep your skin full of moisture. If your skin becomes dry your psoriasis will worsen. Avoid using powders, perfumes, harsh soaps, or exposing your skin to harsh chemicals such as cleaning supplies.
Powders dry out the skin, so it is important to avoid using any powder. Try to keep your skin as moisturized as possible. You should also avoid perfumes around your psoriasis outbreaks because they can cause irritation and strip natural oils from the skin. Harsh soaps and detergents should also be avoided because they can cause irritation. Begin using soaps and detergents that have moisturizing agents and allergen controls. These will help moisturize your skin and prevent any irritation. When you are cleaning, it is important to avoid exposing affected skin to the cleaning chemicals and agents. This can irritate your skin, strip natural oils from your skin, and cause severe dryness of your skin.