By Diane Forrest, RN
You may remember the "Heartbreak of Psoriasis" commercial. This was a commercial selling Tegrin medicated shampoo. It was a treatment for psoriasis, but they never really told you what that was.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.
Psoriasis is a very common condition. The disorder may affect people of any age, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35.
The condition cannot be spread to others.
Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it probably occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances
The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition more difficult to treat:
- Bacteria or viral infections, including strep throat and upper respiratory infections
- Dry air or dry skin
- Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites
- Some medicines, including antimalaria drugs, beta-blockers, and lithium
- Too little sunlight
- Too much sunlight (sunburn)
- Too much alcohol
- Psoriasis can appear suddenly or slowly. In many cases, psoriasis goes away and then flares up again repeatedly over time.
- People with psoriasis have irritated patches of skin. The redness is most often seen on the elbows, knees, and trunk, but it can appear anywhere on the body. For example, there may be flaky patches on the scalp.
The skin patches or dots may be:
- Dry and covered with silver, flaky skin (scales)
- Pink-red in color (like the color of salmon)
- Raised and thick
The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent infections.
In general, three treatment options are used for patients with psoriasis:
- Topical medications such as lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos
- Body-wide (systemic) medications, which are pills or injections that affect the whole body, not just the skin
- Phototherapy, which uses light to treat psoriasis
Most cases of psoriasis are treated with medications that are placed directly on the skin or scalp:
- Cortisone creams and ointments
- Creams or ointments that contain coal tar or anthralin
- Creams to remove the scaling (usually salicylic acid or lactic acid)
- Dandruff shampoos (over-the-counter or prescription)
- Prescription medicines containing vitamin D or vitamin A (retinoids)
If you have an infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.
You may try the following self-care at home:
- Oatmeal baths may be soothing and may help to loosen scales. You can use over-the-counter oatmeal bath products. Or, you can mix 1 cup of oatmeal into a tub of warm water.
- Sunlight may help your symptoms go away. Be careful not to get sunburned.
- Relaxation and ant stress techniques may be helpful. The link between stress and flares of psoriasis is not well understood, however.
- Some people may choose to have phototherapy.
- Phototherapy is a medical treatment in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light.
- Phototherapy may be given alone or after you take a drug that makes the skin sensitive to light.
- Phototherapy for psoriasis can be given as ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light.
- There is no known way to prevent psoriasis. Keeping the skin clean and moist and avoiding your specific psoriasis triggers may help reduce the number of flare-ups.
- Doctors recommend daily baths or showers for persons with psoriasis. Avoid scrubbing too hard, because this can irritate the skin and trigger an attack.
The main thing to remember is that it is not contagious, and those who suffer from it lead a very embarrassing and isolating life. If you know someone who has this condition, or see someone with scaly patches, do not stare or ask questions, just show support and understanding.
For more information visit this site;http://www.psoriasis.org/