Your skin speaks volumes about your health. Some persistent skin problems may be an indicator that all is not well. If you have been struggling with a persistent skin condition that your make-up can no longer conceal, it could be psoriasis.
Read on for more information on questions such as, “is psoriasis contagious,” “is psoriasis itchy,” “how do you get psoriasis,” “is psoriasis an autoimmune disease” and many more.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that accelerates skin cell multiplication. The increased multiplication results in the appearance of bumpy red patches covered with silvery or white scales. The condition can affect any part of your body, but it is most common on the scalp, knees, and elbows. The condition causes your skin to itch, and sometimes the itching can be so severe as to cause bleeding when you scratch too much.
So, how do you get psoriasis and is psoriasis an autoimmune disease?
Dermatologists and doctors are yet to pinpoint the exact cause of psoriasis. However, there appears to be a connection between psoriasis and autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is a condition that causes the body to attack itself. In the case of psoriasis, an increased multiplication of skin cells causes bumpy patches as a result of the cells pilling up.
Is psoriasis genetic?
A close version of the question is, “Is psoriasis hereditary?” Though doctors relate psoriasis to autoimmunity, the condition links to genetic or hereditary factors. People with a family history of psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing psoriasis than those without a family history. For instance, Kim Kardashian psoriasis could have been inherited from her mother, who also struggled with psoriasis.
What does psoriasis look like? (Signs & Symptoms of Psoriasis)
The condition is often characterized by raised or bumpy red patches that cover your skin with white or silvery scales. The spots can also be flat bumps or large plaques. The scalp, knees, and elbows are the most commonly affected areas though the condition can extend to any part of the skin. Other symptoms include:
- You may experience a burning sensation, soreness, or itching.
- Your joints may be inflamed, causing stiffness and swelling.
- Your nails may feel loose, and you may notice abnormal growth and discoloration.
Psoriasis can present itself in different forms. The most common type is the Vulgaris or plaque psoriasis, which represents about 80% of all psoriasis cases. Psoriasis Vulgaris causes red raised skin spots covered with white or silver scales that eventually relax and fall off from the skin.
Guttate psoriasis is the second most common form of psoriasis and affects about 10% of all cases. This form of psoriasis is characterized by pink drop-like pimples covered with silver scales. Other forms include:
- Inverse psoriasis that usually appears under the armpit or any other skinfolds
- Pustular psoriasis which is characterized by non-contagious pus-filled bumps on the skin
- Erythrodermic psoriasis which causes a red inflammatory itchy rash on the whole body (this form is scarce)
- Psoriatic arthritis that commonly affects the joints as a result of arthritis.
Is psoriasis contagious?
If your friend or loved one is suffering from psoriasis, it’s only natural for you to be concerned about getting the same. The good news is that psoriasis is a disorder, not an infection. It is, therefore, not contagious. You are at no risk of getting the condition if you interact with anyone suffering from it. Having understood what psoriasis is, we can now look at how the people you know have dealt with the condition.
How to treat psoriasis
Psoriasis has no cure but can be treated to relieve irritation and clear the skin. Management of the condition is three-phased and includes topical treatments, light therapy, and systemic treatments. The first step in treating the disease is to understand what psoriasis is and the treatments available for the condition. Equipped with this knowledge and working with a dermatologist to identify the best treatment for you, psoriasis can be effectively treated and kept at bay.
The treatment mainly involves the use of creams and ointments to reduce the inflammation and smooth the skin. Vitamin D analogs and Anthralin can also be used to slow the rate of skin cell multiplication to alleviate the swelling and smooth the skin. Ointments should not be used for long since they cause thinning of the skin.
Light therapy is another option for managing your psoriasis. It is probably the easiest and the best method only if it works for you. The treatment uses ultraviolet light from the sun to ease the effects of psoriasis. Exposing the affected areas to sunlight will help you deal with the condition. Light therapy can also use other sophisticated lights such as UVB, Goeckerman therapy, and Psoralen plus ultraviolet A. However, the treatment can only be prescribed and administered by a dermatologist.
Conventional or systemic medications are also available for treating psoriasis. The medication may consist of orally administered drugs or through an injection. Some of the conventional medicines include Retinoids, Methotrexate, and Cyclosporine. Again, the drugs can only be prescribed by your doctor.
Knowing how to treat psoriasis with the help of your dermatologist is a crucial step in managing the condition. Your doctor should be able to prescribe the right medication or course of action, depending on the severity of your condition. The rule of the thumb is, however, to start with the mildest form of treatment such as sunlight or topical creams before going for the big guns.
What is the difference between eczema and psoriasis?
Both are skin conditions with almost similar symptoms, and telling the difference between the two conditions may be difficult. However, the itching in eczema is more extreme than in psoriasis, and can easily cause bleeding. A slight difference in the inflamed areas also exists between the two conditions. Whereas the patches in psoriasis are thick and scaly, the patches in eczema are crusty and sometimes accompanied by a discharge. Eczema appears mostly behind the knee or the inner elbow, while psoriasis primarily affects the knee, elbow, and the scalp. There can be an overlap of eczema and psoriasis in a child, and only a dermatologist can differentiate the two.
How to treat psoriasis at home
Just like other skin conditions, psoriasis can affect the quality of your life, depending on its severity. The chances are that you are already looking for tips on how to cure psoriasis fast. Unfortunately, psoriasis has not found a cure yet. The good news, however, is that psoriasis responds well to the available treatment options. Some treatment options have worked so well, and your doctor will help you get what works for you.
If you prefer the natural route, then there are several home remedies for dealing with your psoriasis. Dermatologist advises patients to take a shower daily, dry the skin properly, and apply topical creams on the skin. Exposure to sunlight has also proven to be very helpful in treating the condition. Aloe Vera, Oregon grape, and fish oils are other natural remedies for you.
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends that you keep a record of what seems to trigger your psoriasis and avoid getting into contact with the triggers. Too much exposure to sunlight may aggravate the condition, just like Rosacea. You are, therefore, advised to expose the affected areas to mild sunlight, preferably the early morning sun. Alcohol consumption inhibits the functionality of some drugs used to treat psoriasis. If you suffer from the condition staying away from alcoholic drinks may be a good idea.
How to treat scalp psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that is sometimes genetic or hereditary. Up to today, there is no permanent cure for scalp psoriasis. However, there are medical and natural remedies that work so well, and you can lead a healthy life by using some of these remedies. The treatments available for scalp psoriasis include tar products and salicylic acid. You can also find a medicated soap or shampoo at your local store to help you deal with the condition. Some remedies work well on some people than others. You can seek guidance from your dermatologist to help you identify the best treatment for you.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that causes red bumpy patches with white or silver scales on the skin. These patches can intensely itch at times, but mostly, the itching is mild. The cause of the condition is not known, but doctors and researchers have linked it to genetic disorders or hereditary factors. Doctors have not found a permanent cure for the disease, but the available treatments and remedies such as sunlight, tropical creams, and ointments will help you live a healthy life.
If you or your loved one is battling psoriasis, we can help make the journey easier. Contact us today through 781-431-0060 or request an appointment, and our dermatology team will be happy to provide tips on how to treat psoriasis.