What Is Psoriasis Of The Skin

By: Eddie Hudd

Psoriasis is a physical skin condition that affects around two percent of all adults and can cause significant mental distress to those that suffer from it. Although psoriasis manifests itself as a skin condition, clinical studies have concluded that the actual cause emanates from the immune system. It has also been found that genetic factors play a role in who is likely to develop psoriasis. Folks whose parents or grandparents suffered with the complaint have a greater prospect of developing it as well.

There are a number of various symptoms associated with a flare up of psoriasis including salmon colored skin, which becomes scaly, flaky and irritated. With plaque psoriasis, which is also the most common type, the affected areas develop round, oval or odd formed patches of red that are covered with skin that is scaly and silvery colored. The shape and sizes of the patches vary widely and individual smaller areas can combine to form one bigger shape of irritated scaly skin. As well as being unsightly, these larger areas tend to crack and begin bleeding.

The area of affected skin can become very sore and feel as though it is burning. As with the shape, there is no consistency as to how long a specific flare-up will last. It could go away within a week but on the other hand, you may be suffering for weeks on end. because psoriasis is classified as a long-term condition, the prospects of recurring flare-ups in the same or different area of the body are very high.

Certain parts of the body tend to be affected more than others including the upper body, head, elbows and knees. However, any part of the body can develop psoriasis. One bizarre anomaly is that outbreaks tend to be symmetrical in nature in as much that opposite sides of the body will be affected in the same areas at the same time.

For reasons that are not yet fully understood, T-cells, which are needed by our bodies to produce infection fighting white blood cells, cause inflammation of the skin. T-cells also in some way trigger the production of an excess of skin cells. Because these skin cells are surplus to requirements, they just stack up on top of each other and in turn create the telltale raised patches on the skin surface. The red look is the increased blood supply that is needed to nourish these skin cells.

Although not the causes, frequent triggers of psoriasis include sunlight, streptococcal infections and traumas, both past and present, to the skin. Alterations in the bodys hormone levels as well as stress and anxiety can also spark outbreaks. Individuals with early stages of HIV seem to have higher instances of psoriasis as well. Smokers and alcohol drinkers are considered to be at greater risk of developing psoriasis although it is not contagious and cannot be passed on.

Currently, there still is no recognized cure for psoriasis. However many effective treatment options can relieve the symptoms. Resisting the temptation to scratch the affected area and keeping it moist is a good start.

The first line of treatment is topical, which are applied directly to the affected surface area with the ultimate goal of trying to stem the production of excess skin cells. Coal tar, salicylic acid, corticosteroids, synthetic vitamin D, tazorac and anthrallin are common localized treatment choices as are specially developed bathing products and moisturizers. Systemic medications are prescribed to address more severe cases. Phototherapy, where patients are exposed to medically supervised ultraviolet radiation is also effective in treating psoriasis.

Skin Care
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