Psoriasis affects your skin cells by building up and causing itchy, scaly, red patches. It is a skin disease, which is very common. It can, at times, be painful. It is a recurring skin disease that flares and recedes. The scales are silver in color. The skin may crack and blood may appear. For most people, other than being bothersome and ugly, it rarely causes a problem. If severe and combined with an arthritic type condition, your joints will suffer and become stiff with noted swelling. This will take its toll on the psoriasis sufferer and cause disability. Psoriasis can also appear in the scalp area and nails. Other types of psoriasis are also known.
Certain environmental factors will trigger an attack including, stress, weather changes, alcohol, smoking, infection or injury, and medications. If your family has a history of psoriasis, you have an increased risk of developing the condition. Being overweight, stressed, having a compromised immune system and smoking can also increase your risk of developing psoriasis.
People with a compromised immune system will have an increased risk of developing psoriasis. When T cells inadvertently attack healthy cells psoriasis can result. A diagnosis of psoriasis is generally made after a visual inspection. Occasionally, a skin biopsy is also needed to determine the type of psoriasis you have or to rule out other possible skin conditions.
Treatment for psoriasis is multi-factorial. Begin by avoiding the environmental factors that will trigger an outbreak, such damaged or abraded skin, over exposure to the sun and allowing the skin to dry out. Before using over-the-counter preparations, check with your physician to see if it will interfere with any other medications or treatments you are using.
Low dose cortisone cream can be purchased over-the-counter.
Your doctor may be able to treat you with a different medication or a combination of medications to help you manage your psoriasis. These medications would include the use of vitamins, retinoids or corticosteroids that are applied topically to the skin, coal tar or other such treatments. In addition, some people with psoriasis are helped the use of phototherapy.
Self-help measures in addition to applying an over-the-counter cortisone cream topically are keeping your skin clean and well moisturized, getting sunlight on your skin to promote the healing of the lesions, and avoidance of alcohol.
Dealing with the disturbances of your skin condition can cause anxiety to take place. If your psoriasis is distressful to you there are support groups that address this condition and help you seek out others that are going through the same thing that you are.