Everything you need to know about Psoriasis
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin cells build up and form scales and itchy dry patches on the skin. Many medical practitioners are of the opinion that Psoriasis is an immune system issue otherwise referred to as an autoimmune disorder.Usually people who suffer with Psoriasis experience inflammation and redness around the scales or patches on the skin. In severe cases, these patches or scales crack and bleed. These patches usually develop on the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. In rare cases, it would appear on the nails, mouth and around the genital area.
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Causes and Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, causing the skin to regenerate faster than usual. The most common form of Psoriasis is known as plaque psoriasis, the rapid regeneration of cells is what leads to the lesions and patches on the skin. There are some researchers who believe that Psoriasis may be genetic and that environmental factors play a huge role in the development of the disorder. There are also triggers, which include stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, climate, injury to skin and even certain medications.
Psoriasis is visible to the naked eye. Signs and symptoms vary from person to person, but this includes:
- Red lesions on the skin
- Small spots
- Itching, burning and discomfort
- Swollen and stiff joints
Treatment of Psoriasis
If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, you can help treat psoriasis symptoms by:
- Taking short lukewarm showers or baking soda baths with no synthetic or aggressive soaps which can contain harsh ingredients or detergents. Rather use Vegetal, Glycerin or Psorinol Scalp & Body Wash or "soaps" with a cucumber, algae or Aloe Vera base with no scrubbing as this can irritate the skin, worsening the psoriasis. If the water is too hot, it can increase itching.
- Gently pat dry with a soft towel and within 5 minutes cover with a natural moisturizer to help seal in the moisture so that the skin does not get dry. Petroleum jelly and other ointments work very well because they make the skin softer and seal the skin so that the moisture is contained longer. If greasiness is a problem, wear old loose clothes for an hour while it soaks in. Do not use creams because they make the skin more tense because of the ingredients they contain as well as allowing the water in the skin to evaporate more quickly. Moisture and humidity are good for psoriatic skin.
- Wearing loose fitting, soft clothing made of natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or even bamboo so that the skin can breathe and won't be irritated. Lighter colors will hide any flaking of the skin. Avoid wool and synthetic fibers in clothing as well as bleach and fabric softeners when doing the laundry as skin with psoriasis can be sensitive to these.
- Not smoking.
- Taking regular ocean swims if you are lucky to live close to the sea. After your swim, leave your skin damp and let the salt crystals dry on your skin.
- Ensuring regular daily doses of sunlight taken in short exposures. The vitamin D that sunlight produces in your body is a great healing tool. The darker your skin, the more sunlight you need. Just be careful to avoid any risk of sunburn as this could worsen the psoriatic condition. Take a vitamin D supplement.
- Working on your diet. Alcohol aggravates psoriasis and should be cut out during an outbreak or altogether as it may act as a trigger. Eat red meat and dairy products in moderation as they contain architectonic acid, a natural inflammatory substance that is believed to make psoriasis sores red and swollen. In addition, avoid processed meats, spices and pickles and go for a diet that includes: oily fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel; plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, mangoes and green leafy vegetables as they are high in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, essential for healthy skin; flax, sunflower and sesame seeds for omega-3 fatty acids; brazil nuts for a rich source of selenium to produce those enzymes that stop the formation of certain leukotrienes which may worsen psoriasis; cereals, breads and yeast extracts that are fortified with folic acid to correct any deficiency which is sometimes prevalent in those with psoriasis; and finally any food containing zinc (such as shellfish and wholegrain foods) because zinc loss through the skin is thought to occur in those with psoriasis.
- Cleansing and detoxing your digestive system regularly to eliminate food residues, using one of the teas or internal cleansers available from your local health food store or pharmacy.
- Working on stress management because stress can play a big part in psoriatic outbreaks. It is thought that stress hormones may stimulate an already over active immune system, leading to more itching. Meditation, learning to relax, gentle exercise and yoga are all effective stress relievers. Some people find regularly listening to classical or any soothing music helps.
- Exercising frequently will help those stress levels and your immune system making you healthier all round. Choose the type of exercise that you will find enjoyable to keep up and don't forget that quick lukewarm shower and moisturizing straight afterwards if you have got at all hot and sweaty.
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