Have you ever suffered from what you thought may just be a common skin rash that won't go away? If this skin rash becomes chronic and persistent, it may well be a skin condition called psoriasis. This skin condition predominately affects adults over 30, but can affect some children. It is also more prevalent in individuals of lighter skin tone.
Rest assured that psoriasis is not contagious and is not an infection caused by a virus, fungus or bacteria. It is believed to be a genetic autoimmune skin disease that can affect both the skin and joints. Recent studies confirm that this disorder is probably brought about by a disobedient gene. This bad gene can misbehave and cause the autoimmune system to generate skin cells too rapidly producing dry itchy patches of skin. This skin condition can be triggered by certain factors such as stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking which can cause psoriasis flare ups.
The individual who has psoriasis will experience persistent outbreaks of red scaly patches on their skin called psoriatic plaques. These psoriatic plaques form patches where the skin has become inflamed and where excessive amounts of skin have been produced. It normally takes a couple of months for new skin to completely emerge from under older skin tissue. However, when psoriasis flares up, the process for the new skin to emerge is much shorter. The new skin is produced much faster, and in a few days will move up to the outer layer of skin. This excessive production of skin causes patches to form on areas such as the elbows, knees, scalp, hands, feet and lower back. These patches appear white in color and are rough, dry, and can be extremely itchy.
The severity of psoriasis can vary from each individual. Some cases are mild with just a few small patches covering less than 10% of their body. Others report moderate to severe cases of psoriasis where their whole body or most of their body is affected by the skin disease.
The first thing that you should do if you believe you are a victim of psoriasis is to make an appointment with a medical dermatologist. A professional examination of your skin will verify if you do have psoriasis or perhaps some other skin condition that may be caused by a fungus. Skin test can be performed in case your dermatologist thinks it might be fungal.
In order to manage your psoriasis, you will need to keep the following important reminders in mind:
1. Remember, psoriasis is not contagious and can be managed! You do not have to be embarrased because you cannot infect anyone else. So do not isolate yourself from others! Also be sure to have your dermatologist recommend creams and anti-inflammatory agents to reduce the redness and swelling.
2. People with this skin condition should avoid common triggers such as smoking, alcohol and stress. Take the time to educate yourself about these triggers. Then learn how to avoid them in order to decrease and finally eliminate any psoriasis flare-ups. The severity of your psoriasis condition will improve by trying to manage frequent stress, avoid drinking alcohol, and cut back on smoking, or if you can, quit smoking altogether! If you learn to control and manage these triggers or eliminate most of them, your psoriasis condition is bound to improve.
3. Weather is another consideration for many psoriasis sufferers. Colder climates have very little humidity. If you live in this type of climate, you will need to keep your skin warm and extremely hydrated as much as possible. Be sure to use moisturizers generously throughout the day, and especially on wet skin after showering.