Psoriasis is a skin disorder that can lead to a great deal of psychological distress. It has been recently discovered that psoriasis is brought on by irregularities in the immune system. This condition affects around 1 in 50 adults and is usually genetically determined.
The symptoms that you will experience if you get a sudden outburst of psoriasis are skin that becomes light pink, and goes flaky and irritated. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, exhibits round or irregularly shaped blotchy red areas, which are covered by scaly silver coloured skin. In terms of their size, there is not a consistent size, and often patches can join into one big patch. Likewise, there is not consistency in the duration of their stay. Psoriasis could remain from three weeks to four months or longer. There is absolutely no way of telling.
Psoriasis is not a pleasant condition. The patches will often split and then bleed. The affected areas will become very itchy, like having eczema, and often feel like they are burning. Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder, which means it can suddenly come up at any time.
Psoriasis normally affects areas like the abdomen, head, knees and elbows, although it could come up anywhere. Oddly, outbreaks are usually symmetrical across the body, so if you get psoriasis on one side, you will get it on the other side in the same place. Your likelihood of suffering from psoriasis is often genetically determined, so if your grandparents or parents had psoriasis, you have a much greater chance of getting it as well.
Psoriasis is caused by the T-Cells (a type of white blood cell) that are used to fight infections, which make the skin become puffy, although the reason behind this is unknown. These cells also set off the rapid production of skin cells, which just pile up on the affected area leading to the flaky raised patches. The redness is simply caused by the extra blood being diverted to this area to feed the extra skin cells.
There are many things that can trigger an outbreak of psoriasis, some of the most common are skin injuries, too much sun, streptococcal infections, changes in hormone levels and having the early stages of HIV. People who smoke and drink a lot also increase their risk of getting psoriasis. Luckily, psoriasis is not contagious so there is no risk of passing it on or catching it from someone.
The best way to treat psoriasis is to keep the inflamed area very moist, and not scratching it. Coal tar, salicylic acid, corticosteroids, anthrallin, tazorax and synthetic vitamin D can be administered topically to control the excess skin production. There are also some bathing products out there for the same thing. More severe psoriasis outbreaks will be treated with stronger medication or phototherapy, wherein UV radiation is used to treat the condition. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for psoriasis.