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Psoriasis & How This Skin Condition Can Affect The Young Sufferer


Finding out that your skin condition is psoriasis can be very upsetting and life changing, particularly when it happens to young people. They can find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that it is a lifelong condition which may vary from red blotches on one part of the body to being covered from head to toe in painful, itchy patches of red skin which do not go away.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

If left untreated, the skin can become increasingly dry, cracked and tight. Even brushing your hair can be painful. Psoriasis can be a very unbearable and uncomfortable skin condition and if you are young, when appearance is especially important, the visible problems of psoriasis can have a major impact on your quality of life. Young people may become very self-conscious and reclusive, avoiding all unnecessary social contact because they are concerned about how they look both to themselves and to others they meet.

Is psoriasis contagious?

People who do not know otherwise may well fear (when they see someone with psoriasis) that it is a contagious condition. But of course it is not.

Psoriasis is caused by the speeding up of the usual skin replacement process. Whereas normal skin cell replacement takes about 3 to 4 weeks, in psoriasis the skin cells can be replaced every two to six days leading to a build-up of skin cells on the surface of the skin. The redness of the skin is due to the increase in blood vessels required to support this cell production increase. When we have psoriasis, our T cells attack our skin cells instead of their normal job of protecting from infection and disease by attacking bacteria. The body's response is to produce more skin cells. This accumulation of dead cells and live cells in visible layers leads to the appearance of raised red patches of skin covered with silvery scales.

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, fortunately new and more effective treatments for psoriasis have given many of those with this skin condition the chance to treat the symptoms of psoriasis. Essential oils is a natural treatment for psoriasis.

Support for young people with psoriasis

The Psoriasis Association in the UK says the condition affects 2 to 3% of people in the UK and over a third of them develop psoriasis before they are 16. As a result, it has launched a new website for young people with psoriasis, including information, practical tips and a place to go for advice and support. https://www.psoteen.org.uk/

Christopher Griffiths, professor of dermatology at the University of Manchester and spokesman for the British Skin Foundation says developing the condition as a teenager or young person is particularly difficult. He points out that: "It can often appear at this sensitive stage of life, around the same time as exams or first jobs and when young people are starting relationships. It can be life-ruining."

Many patients will have a genetic pre-disposition to the disease but it can also be triggered by something else such as a weakened immune system or a stressful situation.

The importance of vitamin D

Sufficiently high levels of vitamin D in psoriasis patients has recently been found to be of great importance as, according to a study published online March 2 in the British Journal of Dermatology, vitamin D was shown to modulate immunity in psoriasis. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all but a steroid hormone that is probably the single most important factor in human health and the vast majority of the population is thought to be deficient in this. Vitamin D from sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels: exposing a large amount of your skin until it turns the lightest shade of pink, as near to solar noon as possible, is typically necessary to achieve adequate vitamin D production. But if sun exposure is not an option and especially in colder climates, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally (the average adult will need to take 8,000 IUs of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which they believe is the absolute minimum for disease prevention).

There are vitamin D receptors present in virtually every cell and tissue in your body, which is why optimizing your levels impacts such a broad range of conditions - in addition to psoriasis – these range from cancer and depression to the flu and dental cavities.

You can find out your vitamin D levels using a 25(OH)D test.