Psoriasis disease is an autoimmune condition that causes cells to build-up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are often associated with itching and flaking. Psoriasis symptoms usually occur on the scalp (scalp psoriasis), elbows, knees, lower back and genitals. In some cases, psoriasis can also affect fingernails.
Psoriasis disease is not contagious and in most people, the rash is limited to a few patches of skin. In severe cases, it can cover large areas of the body. The main goal of an effective should therefore be to stop the skin cells from growing rapidly and avoid build-up.
Skin psoriasis is a chronic disease wherein the cells of the immune system of the body mistakenly attack the body’s own skin cells. Normally, the skin cells are replaced every 28 to 30 days but in case of psoriasis disease, new cells grow and build-up on the surface of the skin every 3 to 4 days. This rapid build-up of new cells creates silvery scales of psoriasis on the skin. Some of the factors that are believed to trigger psoriasis disease are:
- Extreme stress
- Infections like strep throat (a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat) or skin infections
- Cold and dry weather
- Friction and injuries to the skin
- Excessive intake of alcohol and smoking
Some of the common psoriasis symptoms are:
- Red, raised and inflamed patches of skin
- Whitish-silver scaly skin or plaques covering the patches (plaque psoriasis)
- Soreness around the patches
- Dry skin that may crack and bleed
- Itching and burning sensation
- Thick and pitted nails
- Painful and swollen joints
Psoriasis skin disease can take a toll on physical as well as psychological health. According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it has been found that people with skin psoriasis experience higher rates of depression and anxiety. These people are also found to be twice as likely to have thoughts of suicide as compared to those without psoriasis disease.
Psoriasis has also been linked to a higher risk of psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and eye conditions like conjunctivitis.
Mentioned below are some steps to help improve psoriasis outbreaks and symptoms:
- Avoid scrubbing the affected skin while bathing
- Use a natural moisturizer which soothes the skin and keeps it hydrated
- Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to prevent sunburn
- Avoid using harsh soaps and detergents
- Wear loose clothing to lessen the friction
- Shower immediately after you finish exercising to avoid build-up of sweat