When it comes to skin issues, approximately two to three percent of people suffer from some form of psoriasis. Shocker, right? Unfortunately, not a lot of people pay attention to the early signs of the same. Even if they do, it is mostly overlooked as “just dry skin” and dealt with on a superficial level. This only leads to the issue getting worse, with no sign of remedy.
Well, do you in fact have psoriasis? How do you deal with it if you do? And how do you prevent it from occurring again? We got expert dermatologists to weigh in, so you can get rid of psoriasis for good.
What is psoriasis?
Let’s break it down. According to Dr. Bindu Sthalekar, psoriasis is a hereditary, autoimmune, chronic, skin condition that is not contagious. If you suffer from this disease, the cells in the outer layer of your skin get replaced at a much more rapid rate than usual. As a result, it causes them to pile up on the top layer of the skin, forming visibly red, raised patches known as plaques. Psoriasis primarily affects adults, but children and adolescents can also develop psoriasis. And yes, women and men are equally affected. The severity of psoriasis is determined by the extent of the body surface involved. While it is a life-long disease, the good news is it can be controlled with adequate treatments.
What does psoriasis look like?
“Psoriasis looks like dry, red and raised patches covered with white scales. They could be small or big in size and are usually itchy,” says Dr. Parul Khot, resident Dermatologist, Skiinace Clinic. You’ll most commonly notice them on the elbows, knees, scalp, palms, soles, nails, buttocks and back regions. Also, they keep subsiding and recurring in the same place for years, which can be very annoying.
What are the different types of psoriasis?
Dr. Pallavi Sule, Dermatologist, and Aesthetic Physician says these are the broad types of psoriasis issues seen in people.
- Guttate Psoriasis: Typical coin-like or water drop-like lesions of size 2-5mm in diameter appear as a sudden eruption following acute infection (respiratory infections). The age group affected is generally below 30 years.
- Pustular Psoriasis: Lakes of pus develop on palms of hands and soles of feet. The patient is frequently ill with fever, redness of the skin, and cachexia.
- Inverse Psoriasis: This variant selectively involves the folds, recesses, and flexor surfaces that are ears, axillae, groins, inflammatory folds, navel, lips, and webbed spaces.
- Napkin Psoriasis: Psoriasis in the diaper area and affects infants aged 2 to 8 months of age. The bright red patches in the diaper area may respond to creams, but psoriasis may reappear in adulthood.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: This variant affects the joints of the fingers and feet, which may result in permanent deformity.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis: Patients with psoriasis may develop generalised erythroderma.
What are the causes of psoriasis?
Psoriasis is majorly an inherited inflammatory skin disorder. It is a multifactorial disease, and you have a higher chance of developing psoriasis if one of your parents has it. It can be triggered by infections, HIV, physical trauma, and mental stress. Other factors like cold, dry climate, alcohol intake, smoking, and obesity can worsen the problem. In addition, certain medications can also aggravate psoriasis.
What is the best treatment for psoriasis?
If you suffer from psoriasis, you must know that treatment involves three broad stages:
- Clearing: Highly efficient, rapid-acting and speedy drugs are used.
- Transition: Maintaining agents and taper of rapid-acting drugs are introduced to avoid relapses.
- Maintenance: The issue is stabilised with maintenance drugs and safe drugs.
Psoriasis is treated with multiple drugs at the same time, but rotationally or sequentially. Therapy involves topical medicines, application creams, gels, shampoos, etc., and oral treatment drugs. All of these work to reduce the inflammation in the skin and correct the immune response, which is altered in psoriasis.
Apart from in-clinic treatments, there are several ways in which you can keep psoriasis under control. It is a disease that cannot be cured, but can be well controlled with adequate treatment.
Here’s what you can do:
- Apply moisturiser regularly Take a Vitamin D supplement if you are deficient.
- Consume foods rich omega fatty acids, antioxidants and Vitamin C, E, beta carotene, zinc, and selenium
- Get adequate sleep and exercise
- Manage your stress levels with yoga and meditation, since stress is a significant aggravating factor