Embarrassing problems: psoriasis

07 Sep 2016 Chris James   Health and wellbeing

Whilst any medical condition is nothing to be ashamed of, we understand that it can be daunting to seek advice about a problem that's causing you embarrassment. As such, we explore the health issues that people find most difficult to talk about. Next up is psoriasis.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, flakey patches of skin with silvery scales. The patches are generally quite small but they can be itchy or sore and can appear anywhere on the body. The most common areas affected by psoriasis are elbows, knees, scalp and the lower back.

As with most skin conditions, the severity of psoriasis varies depending on the person. Sometimes it's just a minor irritation for people, whilst others suffer so badly that it can affect self-esteem and majorly impact their quality of life.

What causes psoriasis?

People with psoriasis produce more skin cells than others. Skin cells are normally created and replaced every 3-4 weeks, but with psoriasis, this process takes approximately just 3-7 days. We still don't have a full understanding on how psoriasis works, but it's believed that it's to do with a problem with the immune system.

Your immune system acts as our body's defence against diseases and infection but for those who suffer with psoriasis, it's believed that the immune system attacks healthy skin cells by mistake. Psoriasis could run in families but its role in genetics is still being investigated. It isn't contagious though, so it can't be spread from person to person.

If you have psoriasis, you'll often find that there are certain triggers that make symptoms appear and cause a flare up. Triggers include injuries, throat infections, using certain products or using certain medicines. If you understand what causes symptoms to flare up, you can reduce the appearance of psoriasis and keep the condition manageable.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

Psoriasis is pretty easy to spot due to its unique appearance, although it's important a medical professional properly diagnoses you.

How can I care for psoriasis?

Whilst there's no permanent cure for the condition, it is treatable and the appearance of skin patches can be improved. Generally speaking, topical treatments like creams and ointments can be prescribed or purchased from a pharmacy. However, it's important that you speak to a medical professional to determine the severity of the condition before trying any treatments.

If you want to talk to a pharmacist about a skin condition like psoriasis, get in touch with our pharmacist today.

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