Psoriasis is a skin condition that cannot spread from person to person through a contract. The skin condition causes a thick, patchy, red rash on the skin with silvery-white scales on it. This is the plaque psoriasis, which is the most common type.
The psoriasis plaque can occur in any part of the body but it is often seen on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back.
Psoriasis is more common in adults though kids cannot be counted out.
Symptoms of psoriasis
The most common symptom of psoriasis at its start is the appearance of a few red bumps on the skin. Slowly these bumps get larger and thicker, later scales form on them.
The most challenging aspect is that the patches, as they mature, will join together on the skin and cover large parts of the body. The rash is irritable, itchy and uncomfortable, it can bleed easily when disturbed or rubbed.
Those who get affected with skin psoriasis will mostly have psoriasis of the nails too. If the nails are concerned, then they will get yellowish-red in colour. The nails will quickly crumble. Become pitted and get lines on them. By looking at the affected nails, one can guess that a person also has skin psoriasis.
Causes of Psoriasis
So for nothing has been found to pinpoint the cause of psoriasis but it is inferred that it is a problem with the immune system and the body’s inability to defend itself against the infection.
Psoriasis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy skin cells thinking that it was fighting the infection.
The body responds by starting to produce new skin cells every few days instead of the usual time of 4 weeks. The new skin cells build up on the skin surface and form the itchy rashes.
What triggers Psoriasis?
The skin condition flares up at times due to some external stimuli. These include any skin injury or infection, continuous emotional stress, excessive smoking, drinking and due to the reaction of certain medications.
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by taking a skin sample from the scalp or the nails. If there is some joint swelling, then a blood test and X-rays are the norm, this is to check for arthritis.
What are the treatments?
Today you have various types of treatment for skin ailments and particularly for psoriasis.
For mild and moderate psoriasis, doctors usually prescribe skin creams that reduce inflammation, itching and cut the rate of skin cell growth.
In cases of severe psoriasis, UVB phototherapy is given. This treats the skin by exposing it to ultraviolet light. It can be done at the clinic or at home. PUVA is a therapy that combines a medicine called psoralen with UVA light.
Lasers are the latest introduction. The doctor aims the laser directly at the affected skin without affecting the healthy skin and hence, it is more effective than phototherapy. It also has fewer side effects, unlike phototherapy.
The treatment may also include medicines that you take orally and which target the immune system to improve its function.
Getting natural sunlight on the skin can improve symptoms for some people. But it should be done carefully since sunburn can make psoriasis worse. Other natural options include aloe vera, tea tree oil and oatmeal baths to soothe the skin. Some diet changes can also help control psoriasis even though there is no convincing evidence of this.