What Is Psoriasis?
Unpredictable and irritating, psoriasis is one of the most baffling and persistent of skin disorders. It’s characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. As underlying cells reach the skin’s surface and die, their sheer volume causes raised, red plaques covered with white scales. Psoriasis typically occurs on the knees, elbows, and scalp, and it can also affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet.
- Plaques of red skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales; these lesions may be itchy and painful, and they sometimes crack and bleed. In severe cases, the plaques of irritated skin will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
- Disorders of the fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting of the nails; the nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed.
- Plaques of scales or crust on the scalp
- Cold or Dry Weather: Winter’s cold, dry weather can make psoriasis worse, while warm, sunny climates may help.
- Alcohol: Scientists believe that heavy drinking can trigger psoriasis flares. More research, however, is needed to know what the links are. Doctors say avoid alcohol altogether to help prevent reactions.
- Tattoos: can look cool, but the process can be a nightmare for psoriasis. Repeatedly piercing the skin and injecting it with dyes causes major trauma. Damage like that can cause new sores to appear, often 10 to 14 days later. Tattoos can also lead to infection — another trigger.
- Stress: Your body reacts to stress. Studies show that stress can make psoriasis worse, but psoriasis can also stress you out.
- Medications: Some medicines used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and mental disorders can trigger psoriasis.
- Hormones Psoriasis can start at any age in both men and women. But it seems to peak in people between the ages of 20 and 30, as well as those between 50 and 60. Puberty and menopause also seem to trigger patches. Doctors think hormones may be the link. Interestingly, one study found that high levels of estrogen during pregnancy seemed to improve psoriasis for some women.
There are several non-drug therapies that may help the symptoms of psoriasis. A lubricated oatmeal bath product such as Aveeno® Bath Treatment can relieve itching. Oatmeal bath, Cortizone ormitent, **LeHost Oils** www.lehostahir.com
- Bath oil or lotions that contain aloe vera or jojoba can be applied after bathing to help relieve dryness. Gently rubbing the skin with a soft washcloth after bathing can help remove thick, rough skin. Although exposure to sunlight during summer months may help to temporarily clear psoriasis, take care not to get sunburned, as this can cause flare-ups and other skin problems, including skin cancer. You should also to protect your skin from the sun if you are using a coal tar product for psoriasis, because it makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Although people with psoriasis have used vitamin D, natural light therapy, fish oil capsules, and aloe gels, these treatments have been tested in very small numbers of people and their usefulness hasn’t been proven
- Coal tar shampoo.As its name implies, the active ingredient in this psoriasis shampoo is coal tar, which is a byproduct of coal that is thick, black, and odorous. Coal tar shampoo is usually includes additional ingredients, such as salicylic acid, coconut oil, or sulphur. Some coal tar shampoos have a strong odor. However, coal tar is the type used most commonly to treat psoriasis. Tar can help slow the rapid growth of skin cells and restore the skin’s appearance. In addition, it can help reduce the inflammation, itching and scaling of psoriasis
- Steroid-based creams:The mainstay of psoriasis treatment, steroid creams decrease inflammation, relieve itching, and block the production of cells that are overproduced in psoriasis. Stronger preparations, which are more effective than milder ones, can cause side effects that include burning, dryness, irritation, and thinning of the skin. Be especially careful to follow your doctor’s instructions on their use.
- Medicated shampoo. The active ingredients in these shampoos for scalp psoriasis include clobetasol propionate (a topical steroid), salicylic acid, ketoconazole (antifungal medication), Blue Lagoon algae, and zinc pyrithione.
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