When Your Skin Turns Against You: How to Treat Psoriasis

  • By Premier Family Medical
  • 16 Aug, 2017
When Your Skin Turns Against You: How to Treat Psoriasis
Thick, silvery scales. Itchy and dry red patches. Blisters. Peeling skin. Pain. Individuals with psoriasis know these symptoms all too well. When the life cycle of the skin changes and cells accumulate on the surface of the skin, psoriasis is what results.

Researchers have found that the immune system and genetics have much to do with the development of this condition. Both men and women develop it at equal rates. While sex is not a risk factor, race does appear to be, along with age. For example, those between the ages of 15 and 35 have a higher risk than those who are older.

Do you suspect that you may have psoriasis? If so determining what type will give you a foundation to choose the best treatment for your condition. Consider the five types , their symptoms and ways to get some relief from the discomfort that this causes.

Plaque Psoriasis

The most common form of the disease, plaque psoriasis results in raised red patches covered with dead skin cells. These cells give skin a silvery appearance. This form often manifests itself on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. It’s often painful and can cause skin to crack or bleed when irritated or dry.

Guttate Psoriasis

Often triggered by strep infection in youth, that guttate psoriasis causes numerous small, dotted lesions to appear over much of the body. This is the second most common type and affects 10% of all psoriasis sufferers.

Pustular Psoriasis

As its name implies, this form causes white pustules or blisters to form, along with red patches on the skin. While it can occur on any part of the body, it’s commonly seen on the hands or feet.

Inverse Psoriasis

This type particularly affects folds in the body such as behind the knee, under the arm or in the groin area. Unlike other forms, which are raised or bumpy, inverse psoriasis makes skin smooth and shiny. It’s not uncommon for individuals to have another type of psoriasis in another part of the body at the same time.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Last but not least, is the erythrodermic form. This is perhaps the most severe and causes a widespread red rash all over the body. It's extremely itchy, painful and may even cause skin to peel off in sheets. Thankfully this type is quite rare and affects only 3% of people who have psoriasis. Unfortunately, though, it generally appears in those who have unstable plaque psoriasis. So that puts such individuals at a slightly higher risk of developing this.

A flare-up of erythrodermic psoriasis can be life-threatening and requires swift medical attention. While a doctor's visit may be necessary in some cases, there are often things you can try first. What kinds of treatments can bring you relief?

When Your Skin Turns Against You...Fight Back

Moisturizers may help to keep your skin from getting too dry and cracking. They can also soften scales and rough patches. The same goes for bathing in Epsom salt, sea salt, bath oil and oatmeal, which can also relieve that maddening itch.

If those things do not help, your doctor may suggest prescription medicines. These may come in the form of creams, lotions, ointments, gels or even pills and injections in severe cases.  

While there’s no cure for psoriasis at this point, the methods above can be immensely helpful to relieve symptoms and reduce painful and embarrassing flare-ups. When your skin turns against you, you don’t have to sit silently and take the abuse. Fight back and seek treatment that will help you to cope.

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