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. This buildup of patches is referred to as plaques or plaque psoriasis. 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.
What causes 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
Do you think you might have scalp psoriasis? If you see any of these symptoms, then you might have scalp psoriasis:
- Dry scalp
- Itchy scalp
- Red, scaly or bumpy patches on the scalp
- Flakes that look like dandruff
- Soreness or burning
Treating scalp psoriasis requires use of a topical treatment, such as a medicated cream, shampoo, oil, gel or soap. We recommend consulting with one of our board-certified dermatologists or licensed skin care providers for recommendations on products or a prescription treatment, depending on the severity of your scalp psoriasis.
Treatments for Psoriasis
If you suspect you have psoriasis, it’s important to make an appointment with one of our licensed healthcare providers immediately. Psoriasis treatments are not one size fits all. To effectively address your specific skin, it’s essential to partner with a dermatologist to bring your psoriasis into remission. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed physician assistants will explain all of your psoriasis treatment options. At Schweiger Dermatology Group, we offer prescription topical creams and ointments, UV phototherapies and other in-office treatments. We are pleased to offer the new FDA-approved XTRAC light therapy that is helping to bring even the most stubborn cases of psoriasis into remission. Find out more about the new groundbreaking psoriasis light treatment XTRAC
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. It’s also important to apply a heavy moisturizer directly after the bath to help keep the skin moisturized. As far as diet goes, sticking to a hearty-healthy, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory diet can help. 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.