Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It causes the skin cells to multiply rapidly, resulting in a buildup of excess skin cells on the surface of the skin. This buildup, in turn, causes scaly patches that can be red, itchy, and painful. The condition can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back.
While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, many medical experts believe that it is linked to an overactive immune system. There also may be a genetic component, as psoriasis tends to run in families - in our founder Melanie's case, her Nana has it.
Psoriasis can be a frustrating condition for those who suffer from it, as it can cause physical discomfort as well as self-consciousness about the appearance of the skin. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available that can help to manage symptoms and improve quality of life for those with psoriasis.
Topical treatments: These include creams or ointments containing corticosteroids, vitamin D, or retinoids, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote cell turnover.
Phototherapy: This involves exposing the affected areas of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light in controlled amounts, which can help to slow down the growth of skin cells.
Systemic medications: For more severe cases of psoriasis, systemic medications such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, or biologic agents may be prescribed, which work to suppress the immune system or target specific elements of the immune system involved in psoriasis.
Alternative and complementary therapies: Some people find relief from psoriasis symptoms through complementary therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, or dietary changes, though further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of these approaches.
As with any chronic disease, managing psoriasis requires ongoing attention and care. In addition to prescribed treatments, some people find that lifestyle changes such as stress management, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can help to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
If you are struggling with psoriasis, it is important to speak with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. Psoriasis may be a chronic condition, but with the right care and management, it is possible to lead a full, healthy life.