What causes psoriasis of the skin?
Psoriasis is a multifactorial disease. It can be caused not only by a genetic predisposition, but also by various triggering or aggravating environmental factors. Some of the more notable ones are:
- Psychophysical stress.
- Mechanical trauma such as abrasions, rubbing, or sunburn, which can cause psoriatic skin lesions to appear.
- Chronic use of certain medications, such as lithium salts, tetracycline, antimalarial medications, NSAIDs, beta-blockers, cortisones, Interferons, and Imiquimods
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking too much, unhealthy dietary choices, and physical inactivity.
What are the symptoms?
In its most widespread form- plaque psoriasis- reddened areas covered with white-to-silver scales appear.
This can be useful for differentiating it from other diseases, such as seborrheic dermatitis (link to DS), in which the scales tend to be yellowish and oily.
The commonly affected areas are:
- sacral region
But it can also affect:
- palms of the hands
- sole of the feet
Furthermore, psoriasis can cause itchiness, pain, and (no less significantly) embarrassment that can significantly and adversely affect quality of life.
If you think you might suffer from psoriasis, you need to refer to a doctor, who will be able to advise the most appropriate treatment.
5 tips for dealing with psoriasis
Along with pharmacological therapy (link to how to treat psoriasis), observing certain habits and precautions will help to keep psoriasis under control, keeping you comfortable in your skin and reducing the appearance of symptoms.
- Have very short (roughly 5-10 minutes), lukewarm showers. Dry your skin by dabbing gently without rubbing.
- Use gentle soaps and specific shampoos that are formulated without allergenic or sensitising substances (such as fragrances, allergenic preservatives, alcohol, and so on) and with gentle surfactants (and therefore not highly foaming). This will help avoid aggravating skin dryness and by extension other symptoms.
- Don’t rub your scalp when you wash your hair.
- Dry your hair without rubbing. Dab towels gently to dry, and don’t use your hairdryer at too high a setting.
- Moisturise your skin several times a day and always following a shower. This will reduce dryness, itchiness, and reddening.
Things to do every day to reduce symptoms
- Cut out smoking and alcohol consumption, as they can aggravate symptoms.
- Exercise and play sport, but avoid sports in which physical contact can cause scratches or lesions (from which cases of psoriasis can develop in predisposed persons)
- Avoid stress, as it can increase your level of general inflammation, which underlies development of psoriasis
- Wear light clothing, in natural fibres such as cotton, linen, or silk, that allow your skin to breathe. Avoid wool or synthetic fibres.
- Drink lots of water: at least 2 litres a day.
- Follow a balanced diet that’s hypocaloric and has a low glycemic index (with little simple sugar) based in whole grains, legumes, fish, and seasonal fruit and vegetables.
- There’s a correlation between being overweight and the seriousness of cases of psoriasis: overweight patients who’ve lost weight have described an improvement in symptoms.
- Psoriasis tends to improve upon exposure to the sun, as UVB rays slow the growth of skin cells while increasing the production of Vitamin D. It’s important, however, to not expose yourself in the central hours of the day, and to frequently apply sun protection.
- In winter, keep your surrounding environment humidified and keep heating at a low temperature, as this can help to keep skin soft and moisturised.
Pharmacological treatments for psoriasis should always be prescribed by a doctor.
CserPsor is a product line formulated specifically for psoriatic skin and scalps [LINK]. It’s great as both a cosmetic product and for reducing the symptoms of this disease.