What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a very common skin condition in which skin cells build up on the body and form scaly, itchy, dry, red patches. The symptoms can appear anywhere on the body, including the nails, scalp, and joints. The most common areas where you may have flare ups are the knees, elbows, and scalp. The build up of skin cells is due to the skin cells multiplying 10 times faster than normal. Psoriasis can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain in the joints due to swelling.
What causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is thought to be an immune system problem, and is very unpredictable and irritating. It is also one of the most persistent skin disorders. Triggers can include infections, stress, and cold. Recent research indicates that some abnormality in the immune system is the key cause of psoriasis. Psoriasis can be hereditary, but it can also skip generations.
How can I treat Psoriasis?
While psoriasis can not be cured, it can be controlled. It can be difficult and frustrating to deal with flare ups, but many medications make it manageable.
Topical creams can help to exfoliate the build up of skin cells and plaques. Steroid creams can help decrease inflammation, relieve itching, and block the overproduction of skin cells. Tar shampoos and ointments can be used to help slow the cell growth.
Light therapy can also be used in treatment for psoriasis.
Oral drugs are sometimes prescribed for persistent psoriasis.
Newer treatments include “biologic” drugs which are made from human or animal proteins and work to control the body’s immune response.