Aug. 7, 2017—You might not be familiar with psoriasis unless you have it. But this skin problem is common—and it can affect anyone. So it's worth learning a little bit about.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes dry, scaly patches. Most of the time, the patches form on the knees or elbows. But they can be anywhere on the body—including on the scalp, palms of the hands, soles of the feet or even inside the mouth.
The condition occurs when the immune system becomes overactive and skin cells start to grow too quickly. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Red, raised skin patches, sometimes with pus-filled blisters.
- Skin that's dry, flaky, cracked or even bleeding.
- Burning, itching or soreness.
- Thick, pitted fingernails.
The patches and discomfort can come and go. Sometimes a person with psoriasis won't have any symptoms at all. But other times, they can experience flare-ups. These can happen when a person is stressed or gets sick. Cold weather and smoking can make psoriasis worse too.
Psoriasis can't always be cured, but there are ways to keep it under control. These include:
- Lifestyle changes, like moisturizing and taking oatmeal or Epsom salt baths.
- Prescription creams or ointments. These slow skin cell growth and fight inflammation.
- Oral medications or shots.
- Light therapy. Exposure to artificial light can help improve symptoms.
Psoriasis is different for each person who has it, and not all treatments work for everyone. Sometimes, a combination approach is more effective than a single treatment.
If you think you may have psoriasis, talk with your doctor. Together, you can figure out a treatment plan to ease your discomfort and manage your symptoms. To learn more about psoriasis, read this.