How Do I Know If I Have Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition where areas of the body become red, scaly and itchy. Apx 2% of the population in Western countries are affected by psoriasis. It is not contagious but can affect both women and men as early as age 5. If you are surviving Psoriasis then you may also have a slight risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Once recognised, these can be managed through exercise and a healthy diet. Some may also develop a form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis.
What Is Happening To Cause This?
There’s nothing you are doing on purpose to cause this. Normal skin is constantly in the process of replacing the cells and structures of which it’s made. Psoriasis is triggered when the skin cells are replaced at an accelerated rate. Although the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, there seems to be an autoimmune component, where the body’s own defense system malfunctions, as well as a genetic predisposition to the disorder.
Research suggests white blood cell abnormalities trigger rapid skin cell proliferation and exfoliation. The skin cycle in healthy individuals is approximately 28-40 days. With Psoriasis, this period may be reduced to perhaps 3 – 4 days
Psoriasis often comes and goes in unpredictable cycles of remission and flare-ups, making it an especially frustrating, chronic condition.
How Does It Look?
Psoriasis takes the appearance of pink or red raised and itchy areas (plaques) on the skin, covered in silvery scales. In severe cases, the skin cracks and bleeds, forming a few or several lesions. Most common areas of the body affected include the scalp, elbows, knees and nails.
In severe cases affecting the scalp, the lesions are especially thickened and stick in chunks to the base of groups of hairs, a condition known as pityriasis amiantacea. The sister diagnosis scalp condition is Seborrhoeic Dermatitis which should also be considered when diagnosing.
Psoriatic lesions may also cause itching, and the combination of the lesions and scratching can result in the hair looking flattened and unhealthy.
In some cases there may be hair loss. This is not a scarring form of alopecia, which means this can be reversible but in rare cases severe cases can result in scarring alopecia, where there is permanent damage to the follicle.
Types Of Treatments
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments which can help to lessen its effects and repair the damaged skin:
Moisturizing and softening the damaged areas.
In mild cases, a tar-based or keratolytic shampoo is recommended.
For more severe cases, topical treatments such as calcipotriol lotion, betamethasone lotion, mometasone lotion or a combination of topical calcipotriol and betamethasone valerate can be applied.
Sugar Scrub Exfoliators prior to shampooing with low oil-based shampoos. Along with a small dose of antifungal, antimicrobial oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, & peppermint maybe added in each shampoo.
Under the guidance of a hair loss & scalp specialist, other treatments that may be recommended include ultra-violet light therapy and systemic treatments, such as Methotrexate, which address the body’s auto-immune system.
For more information about Psoriasis and tackling the condition as best as possible by scheduling an consultation at Mane Affair Studio.