Old skin is replaced by new cells that are created beneath the surface. In psoriasis, the cells are created faster than normal, so they can not “produce” keratin, a substance that gives the hard surface to the skin. The result of this is ugly peeling of the skin called psoriasis.
On the skin, there are dark-pink spots, covered with white scales. Although they usually do not cause discomfort, they may be slightly itchy or painful. Psoriasis occurs in a variety of shapes – from a single small “cloth” to many larger freckles. The most common affected places are knees, elbows and scalp. Psoriasis rarely occurs in the armpits or under the breast, on sex organs and (sometimes) around the anus.
If it occurs on the hands or feet, psoriasis can be in the form of bladders filled with white (uninfected) pus and thickened, crusty skin. In some cases, the nails are affected; they become thickened, holes appear and they can cut off from the skin, which is very uncomfortable.
About 7% of people with psoriasis suffer from painful, swollen joints (a condition sometimes referred to as “psoriatic arthritis” and resembles rheumatoid arthritis).
Psoriasis is quite common. About 2.5% of people are suffering from it.
Psoriasis is most common in the age of ten to thirty years. In most cases the disorder is mild and, to a certain extent, occurs in the same family.
Psoriasis does not affect general health, except in very rare forms of illness.
What to do?
If you think you have psoriasis, contact your doctor. He may be able to determine the factors that trigger your disease in your case.
Self-help: in some cases, careful sunbathing or ultraviolet lamps may result in the loss of psoriasis. However, if you have sensitive skin, you should be careful of burns as they can easily aggravate the condition.
Professional help: your doctor will probably prescribe one of the possible creams, shampoos or ointment for areas affected by psoriasis. Among them are corticosteroid preparations that are moderately effective. Some psoriasis preparations should be applied with great care since they ”burn” unaffected skin, while others may smear bedding and clothing.
In many cases, by using these agents the overall condition improves. If it does not work, your doctor may recommend ultraviolet rays or a new type of radiation, so-called PUVA.
Your doctor may also recommend you go to a hospital where you will receive skin preparations for three weeks. Also, if your case is tough, you may be given a cytostatic (a medication that slows down cell division). The latest therapy is not applied routinely since the cytostatic may affect some other cells in the body.
In most cases, psoriasis is a long-term condition for which there is no permanent drug for now. However, with modern treatment, any seizure is prevented successfully.