What is Psoriasis? And How to Treat It
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis. Even though it’s a common skin condition, it can be tricky to treat. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis or suspect you have it, you likely have some questions. Can it be cured? Where on the body do red, flare-ups occur? Can it be treated with over-the-counter products? For those answers and more, keep reading for our guide to dealing with psoriasis below.
What Is Psoriasis?
The Mayo Clinic defines psoriasis as a chronic skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. These cells, which build up on the skin’s surface at an abnormally fast rate, form the scales and red patches that psoriasis is often characterized by. Some people find that these thick, scaly patches are itchy and painful. The outside of the elbows, knees or scalp are among the most commonly affected areas, however psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body from your eyelids to your hands and feet.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The cause of psoriasis isn’t fully understood, but scientists have found that genetics and immune system function contribute to its development. What’s more, there are certain triggers which may cause your psoriasis to start or worsen. These triggers, according to the Mayo Clinic, can include but are not limited to infections, injury to the skin (cuts, scrapes, bug bites or sunburn), stress, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and certain medications.
What Are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
There aren’t any cookie-cutter signs and symptoms for psoriasis, as it can appear differently for everyone. That said, common signs and symptoms can include red patches of skin covered in thick scales, dry, cracked skin that’s prone to bleeding, or itching, burning or soreness.
A dermatologist will typically be able to tell if you have psoriasis just by examining your skin. There are several different types of psoriasis, so your dermatologist may request a skin biopsy to examine underneath a microscope for further clarification.
How Is Psoriasis Managed?
The bad news is that psoriasis is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. That said, you may have a flare for a few weeks or months and then have it subside. There are also certain products that can help control the symptoms during a flare-up. Talk to your dermatologist about a treatment plan that’s right for you.
For over-the-counter products that can help provide psoriasis relief, we love CeraVe’s psoriasis line. The brand offers a cleanser and a moisturizing cream for psoriasis treatment that each contain salicylic acid to target redness and flaking, niacinamide to calm, ceramides to restore the skin barrier and lactic acid for gentle exfoliation. Both products are non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn