Psoriasis: symptoms, causes and treatments
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a dry skin condition often seen on the scalp, face, hands and feet, which causes raised, red and flaky patches of skin which can be sore to touch and itchy or have a burning sensation. Our body constantly produces new skin cells, which replace the old ones within a 3-4 week cycle. In a Psoriasis sufferer, the skin produces new cells within 3-7 days. This results in a buildup of skin cells which are not fully mature (ready to leave the skin), causing skin to become sore and irritated.
What triggers Psoriasis?
Like many skin conditions, a definitive cause has not been found, but many specialists believe that the condition is down to a combination of the below:
Immune System. Your immune system helps to fight infection and keep the body healthy. Within this, there are certain cells which travel through the body and fight infection. In Psoriasis sufferers these cells attack the healthy skin cells by mistake. The body then renews skin cells to compensate, which in turn, leads to the other cells attacking them even further, worsening the condition.
Genetics. Like many skin conditions, if you have a sufferer in your family, you could be more likely to develop the condition. However, not everyone who has a parent or sibling with Psoriasis will end up with the condition. Psoriasis is also not contagious and cannot be ‘caught’ by touching a sufferer’s skin. This is important to tell schools, friends and family, if your child or teenager suffers, to ensure that they are not made to feel excluded because of the condition.
Environmental triggers.Many sufferers will find that their condition worsens, or flare ups, after exposure to certain triggers. Common triggers include alcohol, smoking, stress, hormonal changes, certain medicines or an immune system deficiency.
How to treat Psoriasis
Below is a 5-step action plan that we have put together to help you not only treat Psoriasis, but also stop it from returning:
To reduce Psoriasis and begin the healing process, it is important to moisturise at least once per day and always after a shower or bath. We recommend firstly using Recuperating Cream on troubled areas to reduce flare-ups and soothe sore skin, then once the condition is under control, switching to Recuperating Lotion for use all over the body.
A consistent skincare routines helps to keep skin healthy and by showering daily, you can promote cell turnover and reduce the risk of skin build up. Always use a gentle moisturising shower lotion or oil such as our Moisturising Oil, to ensure that you do not dry the skin further.
Be gentle on skin
Treat skin gently, ensuring that you do not scrub too hard or use abrasive shower gels or exfoliators, as this will make Psoriasis worse. This also includes using gentle products on the scalp, where Psoriasis can often develop. Cleansing shampoos such as our Recuperating Hair and Body complex, can be used daily to soothe and calm the scalp, leaving it with an added layer of moisturisation throughout the day or night.
When we are stressed our immune system can become compromised, leading to the buildup of conditions such as Psoriasis. Relaxing exercise such as walking, Yoga or Pilates can help, or even meditating for up to 10 minutes a day, will reduce stress and reconnect the body and mind.
Triggers such as alcohol and smoking can make Psoriasis worse or even cause a flare up. If you know what causes your condition, try to avoid the triggers wherever possible, to give skin the time it needs to heal and repair.
For more advice on treating Psoriasis and other dry skin conditions please follow us on Twitter or head over to our Shop to view the Psoriasis starter pack.