Psoriasis is a recurrent, non-contagious skin condition that is caused by the bodyís natural cell renewal process being dramatically sped up. For most people, human skin cells take 3 to 4 weeks to rise to the skin surface to rise and invisibly fall away as part of a normal, unnoticeable shedding process. If you have Psoriasis, this can happen within just 2 or 3 days, leaving an excess of live and dead cells on the surface.
This causes red patches to form, covered in red, scaly uncomfortable skin. In some areas of the body, where there are natural creases and folds, you may see brighter red, shiny skin. This build up of skin patches can have the appearance of silvery scales.
About 2% of the British population suffers from Psoriasis and can be sore or itchy. It can occur at any age but it is more prevalent in adults under 35 years old. It is a skin condition that affects men and women equally.
What causes Psoriasis?
There is a lot of research going on into why Psoriasis happens and only certain people are more susceptible than others. Research has already linked the skin condition to certain genes. However, if you do have the genetic tendency, some sort of trigger is still needed to set off your first attack. This is often an injury, reaction to a drug, throat infection or physical or emotional stress.
After this, your psoriasis may come and go, varying greatly in intensity over the years. Itís most likely to cause you discomfort between the ages of 11 and 45 though.
How Can I treat my Psoriasis?
Special creams and lotions can be very effective if you use them properly. However, you will need the help of a rich emollient as well to support the treatment. In more serious cases, your GP can refer you to a dermatologist.
Over time, many people find their symptoms stop completely for long periods. This could be due to diligently looking after your skin or by avoiding certain triggers.
When you experience the initial outbreak of Psoriasis, you should look at trying to identify a trigger. Once you realise a certain medication or stress is causing it to flare up, it becomes easier to manage and avoid.
What should I avoid to Better Manage & Treat my Psoriasis?
Always pat yourself dry when wet. Whether youíre coming out of a shower or pool, avoid rubbing yourself dry. Roughly towelling yourself off can aggravate your skin and cause your Psoriasis to flare up.
Climate can be a triggering factor for the skin condition. So, avoid exposure to excessive cold air on your skin and monitor the humidity in a room or your home.
It is important to keep an eye on what substances that youíre rubbing into your skin. Try to steer clear of products that could irritate your skin such as cleaning products containing bleach or tropical insect repellents.
This article has been medically approved by Superintendent Pharmacist Shilpa Shailen Karia, MRPharmS. - GPhC Reg No: 2087328