Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of your skin cells.
Psoriasis can affect any part of the skin surface, but most commonly involves the elbows, knees, scalp, and sacrum (lower back). Other parts of the body include eyelids, ears, mouth, lips, hands, feet, and nails.
People with psoriasis have thick, pink or red patches of skin covered with white or silvery scales. We call the thick, scaly patches – plaques. Psoriasis tends to run in families, but the exact way in which it moves from generation to generation has not yet been established.
Science has proved that both the immune system and genetics are important in its development.
So, just because someone in your immediate family has Psoriasis, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to develop psoriasis. Normally white blood cells are deployed to attack and destroy invading bacteria and fight infections.
This mistaken attack causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. The sped-up skin cell production causes new skin cells to develop too quickly. They are pushed to the skin’s surface, where they pile up. This results in the plaques that are most commonly associated with psoriasis. The attacks on the skin cells also cause red, inflamed areas of skin to develop.
Is Psoriasis the same as Eczema?
Psoriasis and eczema are two slightly different skin conditions. They appear on different parts of the body, level of itchiness can vary and how the rash looks can be quite different.
Eczema is more likely to appear behind the knees and inside the elbows. Eczema also causes more intense itching than psoriasis. Many people, especially children, can get both eczema and psoriasis.
Environmental factors can also play a role in developing the condition.
Emotional stress (like moving house, a divorce, or bereavement).
Infection (such as strep throat).
Injury to the skin or certain medications can trigger the first episode of psoriasis.
Certain lifestyle factors (such as heavy drinking and smoking) may worsen it.
Most doctors can diagnose Psoriasis with a simple physical exam. Symptoms of psoriasis are typically easy to distinguish from other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
During this exam, show your doctor all areas of concern. Also, let your doctor know if any family members have the condition.
It should be understood that psoriasis is not contagious, infectious, or the result of poor hygiene.
There is no cure for Psoriasis, but treatments aim to stop skin cells from growing so quickly and to remove scales. Options include topical therapy, light therapy, and oral or injected medication.
Which treatments you use depends on how severe the psoriasis is and how responsive it has been to previous treatments. You might find that your doctor will need to try different drugs, or even a combination before you find the right solution and treatment for you.
If you have any concerns about your skin please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Natalia and talk about how you’re feeling.
You can also fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.