Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which skin cells grow abnormally fast. The excess cells cause red plaques and white scales to form on the surface of the skin. Scientists think that the growth is caused by genetics and immune system issues, but they are uncertain of the exact causes. Certain medications, skin injuries, alcohol use, smoking, obesity, hormone changes, and infections can all trigger psoriasis flare ups. Steroid creams and topical ointments containing vitamin D or vitamin A can help to treat psoriasis.

 

Some people suffer from a common skin disorder called psoriasis. They notice thick, red, bumpy patches with silvery scales on their knees, elbows, scalp or lower back. It’s common for it only to be found on certain parts of the body, but in many cases, it can cover large parts of a person’s body. Psoriasis is not something that can be transmitted from one person to another, but it is hereditary, so it can be found in multiple members of a particular family. Psoriasis can heal but then reappear during a person’s life.

Causes

The exact cause of psoriasis is not yet known. Medical experts believe it could result from a combination of different things. It could be caused from people having something wrong with their immune system that causes inflammation. This could trigger new skin cells to form much too fast. A body will replace its skin cells every 28 to 30 days. When a person has psoriasis, their skin cells can be replaced every four days. The buildup of old cells is what creates the silver scales people see on their skin. It’s also possible psoriasis outbreaks can result from emotional stress, cuts, scrapes, surgery as well as strep infections.

Types of Psoriasis

When a person is able to identify the type of psoriasis type they have, it is easier for their physician to devise a treatment plan. Under normal circumstances, people will only have one type of psoriasis at a time. There are times when a person will have one type of psoriasis that goes away, and another type develops later on.

Kober Phenomenon

This is psoriasis that occurs with injured skin. It can occur after surgery. Psoriasis develops around a surgical scar. Medical researchers believe this may be why other types of psoriasis tend to occur in places on the body that have experienced low levels of trauma. This phenomenon is known as Koebnerization and isn’t specific to psoriasis.

Plaque Psoriasis

This is the most common version of psoriasis. Approximately 80 percent of people with the skin disease have plaque psoriasis. Some physicians refer to it as Psoriasis Vulgaris. The psoriasis patches may become inflamed. This will cause them to burn and itch. Plaque psoriasis may appear at any place on a person’s body but is most often found on knees, elbows, lower back and scalp.

Guttate Psoriasis

This affects children or young adults. If consists of less than 2 percent of psoriasis cases. It causes small, pink or red spots on a person’s skin. Guttate Psoriasis is often found on the upper arms, thighs as well as scalp.

Inverse Psoriasis

This appears as bright red areas on the skin that are smooth and shiny. It often develops in the armpits and groin as well as other skin folds on a person’s body. This type of psoriasis will become worse when a person sweats or rubs the affected area.

Pustular Psoriasis

This is a rare type of psoriasis. It will usually only impact adults. A person with pustular psoriasis has bumps filled with pus and surrounded by red skin on different areas of their body. It has the appearance of being a skin infection but is not. It can appear on a person’s hands or feet. In some cases, it covers most of a person’s body. When this happens, it is a serious condition.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

This is the lease common type of psoriasis, but it may be the most serious. This will cover most of a person’s body. They will have fiery skin that appears burned. People will have extreme peeling, itching, and burning. Their heart rate will increase, and they’ll experience changes in their body temperature. It could result from an infection, allergic drug reaction, severe sunburn and more.

Nail Psoriasis

Approximately 50 percent of people with psoriasis have changes in their nails. It could result in a person having pitting in their nails; tender, painful nails; chalk-like material under their nails; separation of the nail from the bed and more.

Psoriatic Arthritis

This is a situation where a person will have both arthritis and psoriasis. In approximately 70 percent of these cases, people will have psoriasis for ten years before they develop psoriatic arthritis. Individuals with this condition will have pain and stiffness in their joints that’s worse in the morning or after they rest. They will have swelling in their fingers and toes. Some people will have joints that feel abnormally warm and may be discolored.

Psoriasis Treatments

Psoriasis is a skin condition that is incurable. It does respond well to different types of treatments. Even when people have a severe case of psoriasis, they can get relief during a flare up. This will happen in approximately 90 percent of cases.

There are four different types of psoriasis treatments. Topical treatments, oral or injected medications as well as light therapy and natural remedies.

Topical Corticosteroid

This is a strong anti-inflammatory drug most often used for treating mild to moderate psoriasis symptoms. It is designed to slow cell turnover by suppressing a person’s immune system. Low-potency corticosteroid ointment is often used on sensitive areas of a person’s body like the face or skin folds.

It is effective in treating large patches of damaged skin. It can also be used to treat small areas of affected skin. If this ointment is used too long, it will cause thinning of the skin. It’s is often used on active outbreaks until the condition is under control.

Tazarotene is a topical retinoid. It was developed specifically to treat psoriasis. This treatment is effective in normalizing DNA activity in a person’s skin cells. It will also reduce inflammation. This treatment should not be used by pregnant women, those who are breastfeeding or women who intend to become pregnant.

Light Therapy

This is a method of treating psoriasis using natural, artificial or ultraviolet light. This is done by exposing a person’s skin to a controlled amount of light. Sunlight will slow skin cell turnover and decrease scaling and inflammation.

Regular daily exposure to sunlight has shown to be an effective psoriasis treatment. Controlled amount of light from an artificial light source is able to improve mild to moderate psoriasis. It is effective in treating single patches as well as widespread psoriasis that is not treatable with topical ointments.

The excimer laser is a type of light therapy effective with mild to moderate psoriasis. During this treatment, a controlled beam of UVB light is direct at the psoriasis. It will control the inflammation and scaling.

There is gockerman therapy that combines light therapy and coal tar treatment. When these two treatments are used together, they’re more effective than when used individually. The coal tar makes the skin more receptive to light therapy. It can be done in a doctor’s office.

Oral or Injected Medications

Oral or injected drugs may be suggested if a person has severe psoriasis and it is resistant to other types of treatment. This type of medication often produces a number of possible severe side effects. They can only be used for short periods of time. These treatments can be used in conjunction with other types of treatments.

Methotrexate is taken orally. It will decrease the production of skin cells and help with inflammation. It’s been able to slow the advancement of psoriatic arthritis. It is effective in low doses.

Retinoid medication helps to decrease the production of skin cells for people with severe psoriasis who can’t be successfully treated with other therapies. The symptoms will often return once the therapy is stopped. It has a number of side effects, including hair loss.

Cyclosporine will suppress a person’s immune system. It will increase their risk of infection and a number of other types of health problems. Some people have developed kidney problems and high blood pressure using cyclosporine.

Natural Psoriasis Treatments

Some people are unable to get relief from psoriasis symptoms using standard treatments, or they may not be able to deal with the side effects. There are some natural treatments that have been successful. Research has shown that using topical cream from the aloe vera plant can significantly decrease the symptoms of psoriasis. Some individuals have experienced a reduction in their psoriasis symptoms by orally taking fish oil that contains up to 3.6 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid. Dead Sea salts, Epsom salts, oilated oatmeal are able to help remove the itching and scales of psoriasis when mixed in a bath. A person should stay in the tub for approximately fifteen minutes when using this treatment.

Challenges of Psoriasis Treatment

There are a number of treatments available for psoriasis, but choosing the correct one can be challenging. Researchers have determined that it is very unpredictable. Some programs are effective with a mild treatment and then must advance into a program of stronger treatment. It’s also difficult to determine if a person will experience any side effects or their severity. A person who has had initial success with a certain type of treatment can have their skin eventually become resistant to it.

Discovering the proper treatment for an individual’s psoriasis symptoms can take time. An experienced physician will know how to make the adjustments necessary to best deal with a person’s psoriasis condition.