Home >>  Skin Problems >>  Psoriasis  

Skin Problems – Skin and Scalp Psoriasis - Causes, Symptoms and Natural Treatment

Psoriasis is said to be an immune-mediated disorder that affects the skin and joints. Commonly it causes red scaly patches on the skin. These patches psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques or lesions, are sites of too much skin production and inflammation. Skin rapidly accumulates in these areas and assumes a silvery-white appearance. Plaques often occur on the skin of the elbows and knees. However, it can affect any area; this includes the scalp and genitals.

Then again, psoriasis is not contagious. The disease is chronic and recurring and varies in severity from minor localized patches to total body coverage. Oftentimes, fingernails and toenails are affected. Psoriasis is also known to cause inflammation of the joints; this is called psoriatic arthritis. 10 – 15% of people suffering from psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.

Types of psoriasis

  1. Plaque psoriasis also called psoriasis vulgaris happens to be the most common form. It affects 80 to 90% of people and typically appears as raised areas of inflamed skin covered with silvery white scaly skin called plaques.
  2. Flexural psoriasis also called inverse psoriasis appears as smooth inflamed patches of skin and occurs in skin folds, especially around the genitals, armpits, and under the breasts. The condition is aggravated by friction and prespiration, and is vulnerable to fungal infections.
  3. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by numerous tiny oval, teardrop-shaped spots. These spots appear over large areas of the body, such as the trunk, limbs, and scalp.
  4. Pustular psoriasis is seen as raised bumps filled with non-infectious pus, called pustules. The condition can be localized, normally to the hands and feet, or generalized with widespread patches randomly occurring on any part of the body.
  5. Nail psoriasis produces a number of changes in the appearance of finger and toe nails that include discoloring under nail plates, pitting of the nails, lines going across the nails, thickening of the skin under the nail, and the loosening and crumbling of nails.
  6. Psoriatic arthritis involves joint and connective tissue inflammation and can affect any joint. However, it is most common in the fingers and toes, resulting in sausage-shaped swellings. The condition can also affect the hips, knees and spine.
  7. Erythrodermic psoriasis involves the extensive inflammation and exfoliation of the skin over most of the body surface and may be accompanied by severe itching, swelling and pain. Often it is caused by aggravation of unstable plaque psoriasis, especially following abrupt withdrawal of systemic treatment. Erythrodermic psoriasis can be fatal.

Causes of psoriasis

Psoriasis is not contagious, but its cause remains unknown. However, it is said to have a genetic component. Quite a few factors are believed to worsen the condition, including stress and excessive alcohol consumption. People suffering form psoriasis could suffer from depression and loss of self-esteem. Quality of life is an important factor in evaluating the severity of psoriasis. It is also believed that a trigger, such as emotional stress, skin injury, some infections or a reaction to medication, could set off psoriasis for the first time, particularly in genetically susceptible people.

Normally, skin cells are restored around every 28 days. However, a breakdown in the immune system resulting from a trigger educes the release of substances. These make the skin cells multiply very fast, producing flaky, raised patches that are red, itchy and sometimes burn.

Treatments of psoriasis

There are lots of treatments for psoriasis. However, owing to its chronic recurrent nature it is a challenge to treat. Not all remedies work for all and, oftentimes, it takes some trial-and-error to locate the right treatment or combination of treatments. Medication will depend on the severity and location of patches and state of health, personal preferences and ability to manage treatments. Some treatments can induce remission while others are good to control flare-ups. Some people will be able to cope with the symptoms with topical lotions, while others may require more intensive therapies. Treatments include topical creams, phototherapy, and system-wide treatments often called systemic therapies that are generally reserved for people with moderate to severe forms of the disease. However, those with milder disease, disabled by their symptoms could also benefit from these treatments.