Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a non-contagious, chronic skin condition characterized by thick scaly, flaking plaques, usually on the elbows, knees and scalp. This condition can lead to significant psychosocial stress surrounding one’s appearance and flaking skin. Psoriasis cannot be cured, but the recent advances in dermatological care for those suffering with psoriasis has vastly improved. Psoriasis is a result of skin turnover (new skin cell formation and old dead cells flaking off) in 7 days instead of a normal 30-day period. With this fast rate of cycling, the skin retains a heaped-up scale called a psoriatic plaque which can be uncomfortable but do not usually itch. Psoriasis usually runs in cycles and tends to be worse in winter due to dryness and wind chapping and improves in summer because of ultraviolet light exposure from sunlight which can suppress a psoriatic flare although it can sometimes make it worse especially if you get sunburnt.

Advanced care and management

Despite there being no cure for psoriasis, the recent advances in the immunology behind the condition has led to the development of selective immune-modulators that target the parts of the immune system responsible for psoriatic flare-ups. The goal of this treatment and the use of immunosuppressants is to slow the skin cell turnover that causes plaque formation and inflammation. Good management of psoriasis includes the use of emollients, and suitable skin care products to keep your skin healthy.

Treatment options include:

  • dermatology consultation and prescription of selective immune-modulators/immunosuppressants
  • regular use of recommended emollients and soothing skin care products to keep your skin hydrated
  • topical preparations from your dermatologist
  • phototherapy for the body and scalp
  • advice on shampoos and soaps

For more information on treatment options for psoriasis

FOCUS ON: Effective management of psoriasis by keeping your skin hydrated and healthy by using skincare products, soaps and shampoos from ethos.

Lifestyle and psoriasis

Three less common variants of psoriasis exist which need to be screened for to arrive at the correct diagnosis. Guttate psoriasis forms small “rain drop” plaque lesions throughout the body and this condition is often triggered by a sore, streptococcal infected throat. Inverse psoriasis forms wet, red plaques in areas of the skin that rub together, like the armpits and groin. Pustular psoriasis usually occurs on the hands and feet and forms small pus filled blisters on a red base. In patients diagnosed with psoriasis, 1/3 develop psoriatic arthritis, a severe, debilitating condition that causes joint inflammation that erodes the cartilaginous articular surfaces of the joints.

Although we do not know why we get psoriasis we can identify aggravating factors. We know that alcohol, smoking and stress tend to make psoriasis worse. At ethos we can help you quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake and manage stress and anxiety with the help of our life coaches, acupuncturists, nutritional dieticians and doctors.

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