First of all, we would like to explain what is psoriasis shortly. It is a skin disease that causes red, blistering, and hard layers which are covered with grayish plaques.
Although these symptoms can appear all over your body, you can mostly find them on your lower back, elbows, scalp, and knees. This condition may cause itchiness or soreness. The symptoms can sometimes be extremely serious, but sometimes there may be mild or no symptoms at all.
Psoriasis may affect anyone, but in most cases, affects people under the age of 35. And, it appears in both men and women equally. Some people do not have big problems with psoriasis and can lead normal lives. On the other hand, some people’s lives become very difficult.
What Causes Psoriasis?
People who suffer from psoriasis have skin that produces more skin cells than the rest. Three or four weeks are needed for the skin to make new cells and replace the old ones. However, in the case of psoriasis, the process takes three days to a week. That is the reason behind building up skin cells one on another. Psoriasis may be hereditary, even though it is not clear what is the role of genetics causing it.
What Triggers Psoriasis?
The immune system of human’s body is the main cause of psoriasis. But, there are some triggers that may worsen the symptoms.
People who live in cold and dry locations may be more familiar with this. This kind of weather dries your skin and increases the symptoms. On the contrary, a nice, warm, and sunny weather helps in controlling the symptoms.
Stress has always been people’s biggest enemy. Nowadays, stress is increased because of the fast lives that people lead. Of course, everything has positive and negative consequences. Stress causes many health issues, but in this case, it is another reason behind the flared-up symptoms of psoriasis. A lot of people complain that during stressful periods their skin condition is much worse.
The list of triggers continues with infections. After the infecting the organism with strep throat or tonsillitis, the skin condition may develop guttate, or other some different types of psoriasis. People suffering from HIV may get their psoriasis symptoms aggregating.
In some cases, if one causes some trauma to the skin, such as burns, bumps, cuts, bruises, tattoos, vaccination, may increase the symptoms. This is known as “Koebner phenomenon.”
Maybe it sounds strange, but some medications can actually affect your psoriasis in a negative way, such as lithium, remedies for malaria, and drugs that treat high blood pressure, heart conditions, and arrhythmia.
Also, using alcohol and smoking may worsen the psoriasis symptoms.
How to Treat Psoriasis?
If psoriasis is not that serious, the treatments is with some creams and ointment applied on the skin. But, if it is the case of a more serious psoriasis, then besides the creams, doctors prescribe oral meds and light treatment.
These medications are most often used to treat mild to medium psoriasis. They will help to reduce the inflammation and ease the itchiness.
Corticosteroid ointments are used for sensitive parts of your body like your face or skin folds, also for the largely affected skin.
The best way to use these creams and ointments is to use them for a short period of time. Otherwise, using them on a long-term may weaken your skin, and they will not be that much effective.
The synthetic forms of vitamin D cause your skin to grow slower. Calcipotriene is the cream that treats mild to medium psoriasis, but it may cause irritation to the skin. Calcitriol is not cheap, though it may not cause irritation. These creams contain vitamin D analogue.
Besides slowing the growth of the skin, it makes it smoother by removing the scales. The negative side is that it causes irritations and leaves stains on surfaces it touches. Usually, you should wash it after applying for a short time.
These derivatives from vitamin A may lower the inflammation but irritate the skin. Since they are sensitive to the sun, you should use a sun protection cream before exposing yourself on daylight.
Calcineurin inhibitors – Tacrolimus, Pimecrolimus
These lower inflammation and creation of plaques. It is important to remember that calcineurin inhibitors cause cancer and lymphoma, and that is why they are not advised for long-term use.
Since the steroid creams and retinoids are irritating, the calcineurin inhibitor can be used around the eyes.
This remedy is available for purchase prescribed or not. You can find it in medicated shampoos and scalp solution. It helps to remove the layers of dead skin cells and lowers the build-ups. When combined with other medication like corticosteroids or coal tar it is more effective.
Coal tar is made from coal and lowers the itchiness, inflammation, and build-up of skin cells. It has a strong smell, it leaves stains, and it can cause irritation.
It is not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding their children.
These creams will not heal psoriasis but will help in lowering the itchiness, dryness, and scaling. Ointments are a better choice than creams and lotions. You should apply them just right after you take a bath.
This kind of treatment uses natural or artificial ultraviolet light. Of course, the easiest and simplest way of phototherapy is exposing to natural light. But, you should be careful when and how much time you spend sunbathing. If you expose yourself for a long time, your psoriasis may get worse. Otherwise, it is improved. However, you should consult your doctor first.
Here are some tips for easing the itchiness:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 1:1 of ACD with water. Apply the mixture on your scalp 2-3 times a week. After applying, wash it off to prevent scalp irritation. Important: Do not use this remedy if you have a harmed scalp if it is bleeding.
Hot or Cold Water
Dermatologists do not recommend showering with hot water because it dries the skin, and many people feel itchiness relief when using cold water.
Anyway, according to dr. Yosipovitch, hot showers help many people to release itchiness. His theory is that hot water activates nerve fibers that prevent the itch. His recommendation is to use whatever helps you feel better. However, if hot water helps you, you should use it shortly to prevent dry skin.
It is proved that acupuncture is a great way of easing the chronic pain. Since psoriasis symptoms are considered as chronic pain, it may be a good thing to try. Also, acupuncture helps you relieve stress, and that will instantly affect the itching.
Try Out Yoga
As Dr. Yosipovitch says, yoga is one effective way to lower your stress, besides the other positive benefits. When the stress is lowered, psoriasis would be improved too. It is recommended to do yoga for about 15-20 minutes a day.