Psoriasis is a chronic condition. In fact, it is a result of an overactive immune system. As a result, this causes the skin cells to replace more quickly than usual. Therefore, this results in the build-up of rough and dead skin cells.
Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which skin cells multiply faster than usual. This results in the formation of bumpy red patches covered with white scales on the skin. These patches range from sparse dandruff-like scaling to major patches that cover large areas. In some cases, pus-filled blisters appear on the skin.
Psoriasis would typically occur on the knees, elbows, as well as the scalp. It ends up affecting the torso, palms, and soles of the feet as well. The body starts to produce new skin cells at the deepest layer of skin. These skin cells then begin to move upwards through the layers of skin and reach the outermost level. The cells then die and flake off.
This procedure occurs in both people with and without psoriasis. However, the duration of the process is different in people with psoriasis. This process generally takes 3-4 weeks but in psoriasis patients, it only takes 3-7 days. As a result, the cells don’t get enough time to mature and the skin wears off prematurely, causing the itchiness and red marks.
There are many different types of psoriasis:
Types of Psoriasis
This condition appears as raised and reddened patches, with a layer of silvery-white scales on the top caused due to a buildup of dead skin cells. It occurs on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. Plaque psoriasis patches are itchy, painful, crack and bleed.
This condition appears as small, dotted, pink patches. Beginning in one’s childhood or young adulthood, it can be triggered by a strep infection. It occurs on the upper arms, thighs and scalp of individuals. Stress, respiratory infections, skin injuries and drugs that are beta-blockers are triggers too.
This condition appears as smooth and shiny red lesions that appear on the folds of the body. The lesions are bright red and do not have scales. These lesions aoccur in the armpits, groin region, the area below breasts and around the genitals and buttocks. Sweat, physical touch or irritation and yeast build- up may trigger this condition.
This condition appears as white pustules surrounded by reddened skin. These are not infectious and usually appear on adults’ hands and feet. This is the most uncommon type of psoriasis. Fevers, chills, nausea, high heart rates and muscular weakness accompany pustular psoriasis.
This condition appears as widespread and intense redness over most parts of the body accompanied by severe itching and pain. The skin starts peeling away in sheets. However, this is a very rare form.
This condition is characterised by pitted, tender and painful nails. The nails & nail bed separate from one another. Moreover, their colour changes to a yellow-brown tint. A dusty or chalky material forms under the nails.
This condition is a combination of both psoriasis and arthritis. Painful and stiff joints, tubular swelling of the fingers and toes and joints that may be discoloured are major symptoms.
Do & Don't for Getting Psoriasis
DO: Use an emollient or ointment based moisturiser.
DO: Use warm water for baths
DO: Dry skin gently
DO: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen
DO: Expose skin to small amounts of sunlight
DON’T: Smoke or drink alcohol
DON’T: Stress out as this increases the chances of infection, injuries or flare ups.
DON’T: Ignore flare-ups
DON’T: Forget to moisturize
Treatment for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a condition that causes skin cells to grow around 5 times faster than normal skin cells. This prevents the old cells from falling off. Moreover, they accumulate with the new cells. This results in thick, flaky, itchy patches of skin. Dermatologists may recommend various types of treatments. They will assess the skin and recommend a treatment accordingly.
1.Topical treatments for psoriasis:
Topical treatments are applied directly to the affected area. This prevents the system-wide side effects of medicines taken by mouth or a shot.
Salicylic acid ointment smoothes the skin by promoting the shedding of psoriatic scales. However, using salicylic acid over large patches of skin may cause the body to absorb excess medicine. This may lead to side effects. Moreover, salicylic acid may cause skin irritation and weaken hair shafts. This may result in breakage and temporary hair loss. The effectiveness of these preparations is modest at best.
Steroid creams reduce inflammation and provide relief from itching. They also block the overproduction of cells. However, stronger preparations can cause side effects that include burning, dryness, irritation, and thinning of the skin.
Coal-tar ointments and shampoos:
These products help to slow the rapid growth of skin cells. They also help to alleviate symptoms, but some people are vulnerable to the side effects. One of the main side effects is folliculitis which is a pimple-like rash affecting the hair follicles.
These topical medicines contain a synthetic form of vitamin A. They can help improve psoriasis. However, topical retinoids can sometimes cause dryness and irritation of the skin.
This involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis and under medical supervision. In fact, consistent sessions of light-therapy prove to be very beneficial. Even regular doses of sunlight may help people affected by psoriasis. Moreover, for cases that are persistent, doctors recommend light therapy.
3. Psoralen + Ultraviolet A (PUVA):
Ultraviolet A rays are relatively ineffective, in comparison to UVB rays. PUVA reduces excessive skin cell growth and clears psoriasis symptoms for certain periods of time. However, Stable plaque psoriasis, psoriasis of the palms and soles, and guttate psoriasis are most responsive to PUVA treatment.
This is one of the most effective treatments. However, this form of therapy is used far less often today. This is because it has been shown to increase the risk of developing skin cancer in the long run.
4. Ultraviolet B light (UVB) light:
In this treatment, ultraviolet-B rays which are found in natural sunlight are projected on the patient’s skin for a set period of time, on a regular basis. It penetrates the skin and slows down the cell production The former band projects a larger range of light in comparison to the latter.
Narrowband UVB clears psoriasis at a speedy rate and produces longer remissions than broadband UVB. Some doctors may prescribe this treatment using a light box alone, or with other therapies such as coal tar.
5. Excimer laser
In this treatment, the Excimer laser treats chronic, localized psoriasis plaques. This laser emits a high-intensity beam of ultraviolet B light (UVB). Moreover, the doctor may recommend two treatments per week, with a minimum of 48 hours between treatments. In fact, patients require an average range of 4 – 10 sessions, depending on each individual’s response to treatment.
6. Oral and injectable medications for psoriasis
Doctors may prescribe oral medicines or injectable drugs to treat psoriasis. Some of these medications may affect the immune system.
7. Oral retinoids:
These compounds have vitamin-A-like properties. These may be mildly helpful for severe psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a condition that causes skin cells to grow around 5 times faster than normal skin cells. This prevents the old cells from falling off. READ MORE
Psoriasis is a chronic condition. Moreover, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, the condition is manageable.