Psoriasis

A skin condition similar to eczema characterized by localized overactive skin cell division, but not associated to any allergy as is eczema. Symptoms include swelling and dry, red patches covered with thick silvery scales. More serious Symptoms include pustules, cracked skin, itching, minor bleeding or aching joints. Psoriasis most commonly occurs on the hands, feet, knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. Psoriasis on the scalp causes shedding of large quantities of dandruff, (silvery-white scales). Psoriasis near the fingernails or toenails can develop pits or ridges.

Psoriasis is not contagious. You cannot spread it to other parts of your body by touch. It may or may not be due to inheritance. Dry skin, skin injuries, infections, certain drugs, obesity, stress and lack of sunlight can all aggravate your symptoms. Psoriasis typically reoccurs, appearing for weeks or months at a time. There is no cure for psoriasis. However it is manageable with treatment. For the best results consult a physician.

Treatment

Live healthy, eating a balanced diet, getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night and exercising.

Achieve and maintain a normal weight. Psoriasis often occurs in skin creases or folds.

Avoid scratching, rubbing or picking. If you can't control yourself, cover the itchy area with a dressing, trim your nails and wear gloves at night.

Take a bath in lukewarm water every day to soak off the scales. Avoid hot water and don't use a lot of soap. Use soaps, shampoos, cleansers or ointments containing coal tar or salicylic acid.

Keep your skin moisturized

  • Take fewer and shorter showers or baths. Use lukewarm water.
  • Don't use a lot of soap, or use mild moisturizing superfatted soaps such as Basis or Dove.
  • Shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo.
  • Pat your skin dry.
  • Apply an oil or water-in-oil moisturizing cream immediately after drying.
  • Then Apply a cream containing 0.5-1% hydrocortisone for a few weeks when symptoms are especially bad.
  • Avoid any skin or hair products containing alcohol.
  • Expose your skin to moderate sunlight, but avoid sunburn.
  • Use a humidifier at home while you sleep.

Professional treatment
If self-treatment isn't working after a couple weeks, visit a doctor. He/she can prescribe a stronger cortisone-type cream or phototherapy (a combination of medications and doses of ultraviolet light). Prescribed skin ointments containing a form of vitamin D (Dovenex) may also help. In severe cases, the anticancer drug, Methotrexate, or the organ transplant drug, Cyclosporine, could be prescribed.

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