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Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes red, dry, and itchy patches to form on the body. Sometimes these patches can be small and smooth, but they can also become thick and scaly, with silvery scales often occurring around the knees, elbows, or scalp. The condition gets its name from the Greek words ‘psora’ meaning ‘itch’ and ‘oasis, which means ‘condition.’ The symptoms of psoriasis are very troublesome and can lead to a significant loss in one’s quality of life. Psoriasis is not fatal or contagious, but it can be frustrating because the symptoms often recur even after treatment.
Psoriasis – What Is It?
The skin is the largest organ of the body and is made up of three main layers called the epidermis (outside layer), dermis (middle layer), and subcutaneous tissue (innermost layer). Each coating helps perform essential functions that keep the skin healthy. The outermost epidermis contains cells called keratinocytes which divide rapidly to create new cells constantly. These keratinocyte cells move from inside your body to reach your skin’s surface within about two weeks. When the cells get to your skin’s surface, they accumulate as a protective layer of dead cells called the stratum corneum and provide waterproofing for the body.
Psoriasis is a condition in which cells divide more rapidly than average to form patches of thickened, inflamed skin with silvery scales. These scales can be dry or moist and can flake off easily. Psoriasis usually manifests as red patches covered with these scales on any body part, including arms, legs, scalp, nails, and torso. Dryness is considered another symptom of psoriasis because it causes itching that may lead to cracking in extreme cases where bleeding starts from within the cracks themselves.
What causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which means your body produces antibodies that attack healthy skin cells rather than protecting them as it should. Other possible causes of psoriasis include:
- Genetics is strong evidence that genetics play an essential role in causing psoriasis because if one identical twin has this condition, then there is a 70% chance that the other twin will develop it too. People related to psoriasis have a three times higher risk of developing the illness, but people without a family history can also get this disease.
- Certain types of viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, can also cause psoriasis. Your doctor will use your medical history and family background to learn if anyone in your family has autoimmune disorders or any infection which may be a possible cause for psoriasis.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Alcohol is directly related to inflammation, and studies have shown that consuming a large amount of alcohol can increase the risk of developing psoriasis by 80%. It also increases the harmful effects of alcoholism on your body and causes liver cirrhosis (scarring), increasing your chance of psoriatic arthritis.
- Stress, physical injury, skin trauma
- Sometimes, stress from life events such as divorce or moving to a new country can trigger psoriasis. Bodily injury is another cause of psoriasis, especially when it affects your knees, elbows, hands, and feet. Skin trauma that causes damage to your skin cells is yet another cause of psoriasis since it’s an autoimmune disease by nature.
Types of Psoriasis: There are six types of psoriasis which include:
Plaque Psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, where inflamed lesions covered with silvery scales appear on the skin. Plaques can occur anywhere on the body, but they commonly occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.
If you develop inflammation in your nails, it may mean that you have nail psoriasis. The symptoms of nail psoriasis are usually not too severe but, when left untreated, may lead to an increased risk for infection and pain.
Guttate psoriasis occurs when tiny drops or sprinkles of inflamed lesions appear more often during childhood or adolescence. This form of psoriasis only affects the skin and does not affect other parts of your body.
In this type of psoriasis, inflamed lesions are found in the folds or creases under the armpits, groin, breasts, etc.
It is a very rare type of psoriasis that covers large portions of the body with reddened and inflamed skin, which may also result in significant scales on the skin’s surface.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects 4-10% of patients with psoriasis. Around 10%-20% of these patients report clinical symptoms before psoriasis has been diagnosed, so you should consult a doctor if you suspect this type of arthritis. During this disease, immune system cells increase your chance of developing lymphoma (type of cancer) by six times than those who don’t have it.
Which body part psoriasis affects majorly?
Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, including the scalp, nails, and skin. Most people with psoriasis have it on their skin, but some may develop signs of psoriasis in other parts of their bodies, such as the joints or inside the mouth. Psoriasis mostly affects:
Elbow and Knees
– Psoriasis on the elbow causes you to feel pain, discomfort, and stiffness in the joint. Elbow psoriasis may appear as raised red patches with silver scales. You can develop psoriasis on the knees. Psoriatic arthritis is most often associated with knee psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that leads to stiffness and swelling in your joints which can cause chronic pain. It usually affects around 10% of people with psoriasis.
– Hands are some of the most commonly affected body parts by psoriasis because they face frequent contact with environmental irritants such as detergents and solvents. Psoriasis on the hands usually affects your palms, between fingers, and even under nails.
– Psoriasis of the scalp includes inflamed areas covered with silvery scales that can be quite itchy or painful. People with psoriasis of the scalp may notice flakes throughout their hair as psoriasis skin cells shed themselves. Scalp psoriasis is generally milder than other forms of psoriasis. Still, if left untreated, it may lead to a significant loss in hair or other symptoms such as dermatitis, which causes a reddened rash on the neck, ears, and face.
– Psoriatic backache is a condition where you experience chronic pain due to the inflammation of your upper spine or neck. Psoriatic arthritis is also a common cause of backache, and it generally occurs in the lower, middle, or upper back.
– If you develop psoriasis in your toenails, then they will appear discoloured with pitting and a white or yellowish surface. Toenails affected by psoriasis often become thick, brittle, and chip or separate from the nail bed.
Who is at risk for Psoriasis?
People genetically prone are considered at the highest risk for developing psoriasis, but you don’t need any family history to create this skin condition. Some psoriasis conditions like diabetes, obesity, and thyroid disease, make you more likely to get the illness than other people with healthy body weight and free from high blood sugar levels.
What are the risk factors for psoriasis?
Psoriasis is most common in people with:
- Family history of psoriasis. Psoriasis can affect any race and ethnicity, but it is more likely to develop in those with white skin. People with lighter skin have less melanin which helps protect against sunburns and contributes to a higher risk for developing skin conditions like psoriasis.
- People aged between 15 and 30 years old. Psoriasis is a chronic condition generally appearing on the skin during young adulthood.
- Overweight or obese people. Psoriasis is most common in people who are overweight. Carrying excess body weight means you have more cells than normal which enhances your risk for developing psoriasis over time.
- People with alcoholism, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), HIV/AIDS, liver disease, or thyroid problems can develop psoriasis. These conditions affect how your immune system functions and responds to certain environmental factors that may trigger psoriasis outbreaks.
- How does genetics influence psoriasis?
- The tendency to get a disease like psoriasis runs in families, so if there is a history of this condition, you are more likely to develop it yourself, especially if someone else in your family has had diseases such as or diabetes. Scientists have found that psoriasis is associated with genes that play a role in the immune system, and they have not discovered any link to diet or environment.
What are the triggers of psoriasis?
– Psoriasis commonly occurs because of an overactive immune system that flares up as it tries to fight infection-causing redness, swelling, pain, itching followed by slow cell growth at the skin’s surface, which can result in dry scales covering the plaques. This leads to patches that thicken and grow bigger than normal size. The other major cause of psoriasis is genetics. Still, doctors don’t know why people who carry this genetic predisposition get psoriasis outbreaks or how these genes increase your risk of developing this condition.
Symptoms & Signs:
The following are some common symptoms and signs that you might have psoriasis or be at risk for developing this condition:
– Red patches covered with silvery scales, especially when they itch
– Burning sensation, pain, and stiffness in the skin, especially when it is inflamed
– Dryness of the skin may lead to cracking if left untreated
– Thickened or pitted brittle nails
– Rashes and bumps on the scalp that cause flaking
How to manage psoriasis at home?
Certain things might trigger psoriasis, so you can avoid them if possible. For example, alcohol and spicy food often worsen the symptoms of psoriasis, so it is better to keep away from these substances as much as you can.
One way to ensure that you don’t drink too much or eat unhealthy foods:
You can create a list of your favourite recipes and snacks with low-fat ingredients and healthy products that won’t interfere with your psoriasis treatment plan. Psoriasis patients are also advised to reduce stress in their lives because high cortisol levels (a hormone released by the adrenal glands) can worsen this skin condition. Keep your skin clean:
Another way to manage psoriasis at home is by keeping your skin clean:
Using soap and warm water to wash the affected areas once or twice a day is enough to keep the dry patches away. In between these showers, you can apply moisturizers that contain natural ingredients such as aloe vera, tea tree oil, or grapefruit seed extract onto your skin to make it soft and supple again. When psoriasis is particularly severe, applying an ointment as soon as possible after taking a shower will help prevent the build-up of dead cells because most moisturizers do not work well on psoriasis when used on top of tight scales.
Choose to clothe carefully:
Another way to manage psoriasis symptoms at home is by choosing clothes made out of cotton instead of those with synthetic fibers, which tend to irritate the skin. If you plan to wear leather shoes or clothes, make sure to wear loose socks with them so that your feet won’t chafe and cause discomfort.
When to visit a skin doctor when you have psoriasis?
Most patients find that natural treatments for psoriasis do not significantly affect their skin, so they consult a dermatologist, especially if the condition is mild to moderately severe. A medical professional can prescribe medications, creams, and ointments to help relieve pain and itching and reduce inflammation in the affected areas. Additionally, a doctor will be able to diagnose any underlying health conditions that might cause your psoriasis symptoms, such as lupus, digestive diseases, or heart disease, and treat them accordingly.
Treatment of skin doctors by skin doctor:
You can manage your psoriasis symptoms by using medications prescribed by a dermatologist or skin doctor.
- Ointments containing corticosteroids slowed down skin cell growth which leads to less scaling and makes plaques milder
- Prescription oral medications like acitretin, adalimumab, cyclosporine, etanercept, fingolimod, infliximab, methotrexate, and all work by slowing down skin cell production to lessen scales in thickened lesions
- Light therapy or phototherapy is often used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis symptoms
- Psoriasis remedies sometimes contain coal tar, anthralin, topical capsaicin, and salicylic acid, which relieve itching and dryness.
Homeopathic treatment for Psoriasis:
- Homeopathy treatment for psoriasis uses natural ingredients like plants, minerals, or animal extract in small batches to cure various skin ailments.
- Homeopathy treatment for psoriasis has been known to treat various skin diseases, including psoriasis, especially when it is mild to moderate.
- Homeopathic Psoriasis treatment begins by identifying the root cause of your problem and then prescribing one or more doses to bring relief from symptoms within 24 hours.
- Homeopathic remedies for psoriasis can be used alone, but other ingredients enhance effectiveness, especially when it has spread over large areas of your body.
You should consult a professional homeopath once you start taking homeopathic medicine because specific ingredients can trigger or worsen your condition.
A homeopathy doctor will also recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet, regular exercise, avoiding stress and tension, plenty of fresh air, and sunlight to help you stay fit and fight the symptoms.
How does homeopathy work for psoriasis?
Homeopathy is one of the best treatment options for mild cases of psoriasis since there is no risk of side effects when using this type of natural treatment. Research has shown that homeopathic remedies contain certain substances which can help reduce inflammation, fight infection, and speed up the skin cell turnover process, among many other therapeutic benefits. Homeopaths recommend specific combinations of natural ingredients like sulphur, Arsenicum album, and sulphur in various potencies depending on the patient’s age, the severity of symptoms, extent, and duration of psoriasis, among other things.
So, if you have psoriasis, it is time to visit a Skin Doctor for effective psoriasis treatment. You can book an appointment with OHO Homeopathy today!