Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by an overactive immune system. It is condition in which skin cells multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. When these cells reach the surface and die, raised red plaques covered with white scales form. The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown but a combination of genetic, environmental and immune system factors is considered to play an important role in the establishment of the disease. It is commonly found in members of same family. Sometimes, it can also be associated with arthritis, so it is important to diagnose and treat psoriasis early.

Psoriasis is not contagious and not transmitted by physical contact or sexually. It may affect any part of your body and commonly affects the elbows, knees, nails and scalp. Inverse psoriasis may affect armpits, groin area, area under breasts and the area around the genitals. Common psoriasis symptoms include flaking, red patches of skin covered with white or silvery scales, dry & cracked skin, inflammation and small bleeding points when the scale is peeled away.

Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for psoriasis. It has a variable course and keeps improving and worsening periodically. It may remain clear for years and stay in remission. Worsening of symptoms may occur in colder winter months. However, there are multiple ways to manage the disease and the treatment includes medications, light therapy using Ultraviolet light, stress reduction and exposure to sunlight. As psoriasis affected skin loses more moisture, moisturisers help.

Tips to Prevent Psoriasis Flare-Ups

  • Use mild soaps & shampoo
  • Avoid long and hot shower
  • Use moisturising lotions
  • Never pick at patches or scales on skin or scalp
  • Avoid dry, cold weather
  • Use a humidifier
  • Avoid medications that cause flare-ups (lithium, propranolol, and quinidine)
  • Get sunlight and not too much use of sunscreen
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Exercise and maintain a healthy weight