Psoriasis is a skin disorder caused by malfunctioning of the immune system which causes inflammation in the body. This disease makes the skin build up in the red patches that are covered with white scales. It can grow on different parts of the body like the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. Psoriasis cannot be transmitted from one person to another. It is a long-term disease with no cure, although treatments are available to deal with the symptoms. Some lifestyle habits and coping mechanisms can lend a hand at making your life better as well.
The symptoms can differ from one person to another. Here are a few common ones:
- Red patches on skin covered with silvery scales.
- Small scaling spots (found in children).
- Itchy or bleeding dry and cracked skin.
- Swollen or immobile joints.
- Thick or ridged nails.
The root cause of psoriasis is still unknown, but we know that the immune system and genetics play an essential role. Even though; it is possible to catch psoriasis without a family history. A trigger can stimulate the immune system that marks the beginning of symptoms. Here are some of the well-known triggers:
- Scratch to the skin
- certain medications
- Allergies, alcohol and certain foods are less common.
People who have to tolerate mild psoriasis(as little as 3% on the body) may also undergo psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis is practically incurable, yet you can take medication to reduce the effect of symptoms. Some topical and systemic treatments work well for this skin condition.
These treatments are directly rubbed on the affected area. Some of them are:
- Retinoids: This contains synthetic Vitamin A and may cause occasional dryness and irritation to the skin
- Salicylic acid: The ointment smoothens the skin and promotes shedding of psoriatic scales.
- Coal-tar ointments and shampoos: It slows down the rapid growth of skin cells and relieves the symptoms. Some people are vulnerable to side effects.
Some doctors suggest regular exposure to sunlight for minimising the lesions. Light therapy is also prescribed; a few of them are:
- Narrowband UVB therapy
- Ultraviolet B light
- PUVA (the drug psoralen combined with ultraviolet A, or UVA, light).
Oral and injectables
- Biologics: These can control the immune response of the body plus are regularly used to treat psoriatic arthritis.
- Oral retinoids: This medication is mildly helpful.