Psoriasis, which presents as thick scaly patches on the skin, is a chronic skin condition that causes cells on the skin to grow abnormally fast. In normal skin, cells grow and fall off after about four weeks. When the skin sheds off, new cells then grow in place of the cells that have flaked off. When you have psoriasis, those new skin cells come to the skin’s surface much quicker—in days as opposed to weeks. Psoriasis can be an extremely embarrassing condition—especially during swimsuit season. Psoriasis in not contagious, but it is a chronic condition that requires the correct care and attention to successfully manage.
Types of Psoriasis
A chronic condition that often tends to develop on the back, palms, scalp, feet, face, knees and elbows, plaque psoriasis is characterized by an almost silvery buildup of skin. These skin patches also appear red and flaky, even to the point where they crack and bleed.
Typically, what we have seen in relation to scalp psoriasis sufferers is excessively dry scalp, itchiness, soreness, red bumps and patches as well as thick, crusted over sores.
Causes of Psoriasis
There still remains a lot to be learned about psoriasis, including why people get it in the first place. There is a strong genetic component and the immune system plays a large role as well. It is widely thought that the cause of psoriasis has to do with the T cells in the body, which are white blood cells. T cells help our bodies fight off infections, but when you have psoriasis, the T cells instead attack the healthy skin cells as if they were a foreign substance. The main psoriasis triggers include:
- Strep throat
- Cold weather
- Bug bites
- High blood pressure medications
Treatments for Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatments are not one size fits all. To effectively address your specific skin, it’s essential to partner with a dermatology provider to bring your psoriasis into remission. At Schweiger Dermatology Group, we offer prescription topical creams and ointments, UV phototherapies and other in-office treatments. We are pleased to offer the FDA-approved psoriasis light treatment XTRAC that is helping to bring even the most stubborn cases of psoriasis into remission.
There are certain lifestyle measures you can take to help control psoriasis outbreaks. Taking a lukewarm bath daily will help remove the scales associated with psoriasis. You can also add colloidal oatmeal and bath oils to help soothe inflamed skin. Make sure to include omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and mackerel as well as vegetables with anti-inflammatory properties, such as nuts, avocados, kale, spinach and broccoli. The worst foods for psoriasis include alcohol, refined sugar, gluten, fried foods, dairy products and nightshade vegetable, such as tomatoes, pepper and potatoes. Keeping your body at a healthy will also help keep your psoriasis in check.