Understanding Psoriasis and what can help

Psoriasis symptoms and treatments

Did you know that Psoriasis is something which effects around 2% of people in the UK and it is something which can start at any age however is most common in adults, men and women equally.

Although it is actually being diagnosed more it is still something many don’t know much about and something which others often mistake for being contagious due to the appearance and lack of knowledge of.

I actually have a few patches on my elbows which are easily hidden away but do flare up when I am stressed or very run down and only recently do I have patches starting to appear on my hands.

So, What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales.

These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body. Most people are only affected with small patches. In some cases, the patches can be itchy or sore. – nhs.uk

The severity can be different from person to person, with many having only a few patches which cause them no real problems, while others can find theirs is so severe it impacts their quality of life.

What causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells are replaced quicker than usual. Normal skin cell die and then flake off over time as new skin cells are produced under the skin layers.  We rarely see this happening as the skin cells come away in the bath, shower and even on our bed sheets at night – the whole process takes around three to four weeks, with new skin cells growing, dying and flaking continuously.

For those with Psoriasis the whole process only takes around three to seven days, this means that as a result the skin cells build up as they aren’t ready to die and flake off. The new skin cells build up on the surface and form red flaky and crusty patches

Are there any triggers which can make it worse?

There are, mine gets worse with stress and the more stressed I become the itchier it is and then the sorer it is as I can’t help but scratch at it which is the complete wrong thing to do of course, I also have flare ups when I am run down and my body is trying to fight an infection or a virus.  Everyone can have different triggers, some of which include:

  • An injury to the skin – cuts, scrapes, bites, burns
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Changes in hormones
  • Certain medicines
  • Throat infections
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Drinking too much Alcohol

Are there any ways to ease or help the symptoms?

Of course the first port of call is always a doctor who will most likely prescribe a topical cream which is applied to the skin to start with.

They will monitor to see if it is working and if you need something stronger will try something else. As with many treatments it can be a little bit of trial and error to see what works for you, as there is not a one fits all treatment.

Phototherapy has been effective for some, which means exposing your skin to certain types of ultra violet light, and oral and injected medications have worked for others.

I tend to find the topical creams are working for me currently.

Psoriasis on hands and nails can also be accompanied by cracking skin and blisters –
Some ways to prevent Psoriasis from flaring up and affecting the hands and nails include avoiding movements that cause repeated friction to the hands and keeping nails trimmed and as short as possible. Long and loose nails can continue to be injured as they catch and rub against surfaces.

I took the opportunity recently to ask fellow bloggers who also suffer for some of their best tips on dealing with flare ups and what they use/do to ease symptoms:

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Do you suffer and have you found anything to help?

“This is a collaborative post”

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