Psoriasis is a non-contagious chronic skin condition characterized by thick discolored patches of skin. It most typically affects adults, but younger children and adolescents can have it, as well. Because of its unsightly nature, people with psoriasis often feel very ashamed and embarrassed about having it and go through great lengths to cover it up in public. Understanding how to treat psoriasis is crucial in learning how to properly manage its symptoms. Having a general knowledge of what it is and what causes it helps in understanding the treatment methods available.
Pronounced ‘suh-ry-uh-sus ‘, psoriasis is caused by an overreaction of the immune system. These then causes skin inflammation and skin flaking. Normally, in skin where psoriasis isn’t present, new skin cells grow and are shed within about 4 weeks. Skin cells affected by psoriasis, however, grow at a much faster rate and don’t shed like healthy skin cells should. The result is a build up of redundant skin. This is referred to as psoriasis plaques.
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Many fear that psoriasis is contagious. However, it isn’t and there’s no chance at all of it being spread by coming in contact with a person who has it. Psoriasis may be hereditary, as it does seem to run in some families. However, researchers aren’t yet sure of exactly how it is passed through family members.
In more severe cases of psoriasis, people can experience arthritic symptoms known as psoriatic arthritis. People with this form of psoriasis commonly complain of swollen, painful joints. Severe psoriasis even sometimes causes a waste of my finger and toe nails as a result of dead skin building beneath both surfaces and pushing the nail out of the nail bed.
Proper skin care is still in order for people with psoriasis. This includes keeping the skin as damp as possible throughout the day. A person with psoriasis should make an attempt to discover which bath and skincare products work best in this endeavour and use those products regularly. Products containing Aloe Vera gel may be particularly soothing to the skin, for some.
If psoriasis appears in the scalp, there are over the counter shampoos that can help with this condition. Psoriasis shampoos are usually found alongside dandruff shampoos and are known to be highly effective. Regular shampoos may contain alcohol and other ingredients. These deplete the skin’s moisture and should, therefore, be avoided on the part of those who suffer from psoriasis.
Although over exposure to sunlight can cause sunburn or otherwise trigger symptoms of psoriasis, short daily exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet lighting is recommended in controlling psoriasis. Regular sunlight exposure for approximately 15-20 minutes at a time may help. If this amount of time begins to irritate or dry skin too much, consider reducing it to a standard that feels more comfortable.