The skin, which is the largest organ in the body, has a crucial role to play in human health. It not only covers all internal organs and protects them from the entry of pathogens but also doubles as the first line of defense when it comes to infections. This is why you do not want to develop any infection that will compromise the functions of your skin. Psoriasis happens to be one of the most common skin infections, in the United States and beyond. Unfortunately, many people ignore it thinking it is any other temporary skin condition. If you do this, you could easily end up with an entire body covered in scales. Sow what exactly is psoriasis, what causes it and how can the condition be treated?
Psoriasis simply refers to a skin conditions characterized by red and dry plaques of thick skin. It commonly affects parts such as the knees, elbow and scalp, but could very easily spread to the rest of the body if left unattended. Forget the impact it can have on your looks, psoriasis can hugely undermine critical skin functions thus endangering your health. This is why is very important to have adequate information about the condition. This way, you will be able to identify and infection and procure effective remedy before matters worsen. Even though it can affect people of all ages, it is prevalent during the early years of adulthood.
Some health practitioners prefer to view psoriasis as a medical condition brought about by highly increased growth of skin cells. Usually, new cells of the skin are formed every few weeks. However, when suffering from this condition, the new skin cells are formed in just a few days. This will happen due to a faulty immune system sending false signals to the brain. Since the excess skin cells aren't being shed by the body, the cells pile on top of each other until lesions develop. A lot of myths have been doing rounds about the causes as well as treatments of this ugly skin condition. By the time you are done reading this guide, you should have separated the truth from myths.
Causes of Psoriasis
The diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition will always start with an inquiry into the possible causes. It is only by knowing what the cause of psoriasis is, that dermatologists will be able to come up with lasting treatments. This is why for over three decades now, a lot of research has been done to try and establish what actually causes this condition. Initially, it was feared that psoriasis could be contagious just like majority of skin disorders. However, there is nothing to fear about staying close to a psoriasis victim. This is because it has been proven that the condition is by no means contagious. So what is it that causes psoriasis?
- T-Cells: You have probably heard psoriasis being referred to as the T-Cell mediated disease. This is because the wrong trigger to produce additional layers of skin originates from the T-Cells. These cells are just a category of white blood cells that fight unwanted pathogens entering the body. So how exactly does this false trigger come about?
- Genetic? After decades of research, scientists still can't point to that one master switch that triggers psoriasis. However, there is some reason to believe that the reason some T-Cells will trigger a false reaction and others won't lies in the DNA. One of the responsible genes is the PSORS 1, which regulates the immune system's reaction to an infection.
More research is being conducted though to isolate the very specific cause of this medical condition.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
You have seen that the underlying cause of psoriasis is far from being clear. However, you can't confuse a psoriasis infection for anything else. This will only be possible if you have a good understanding of the symptoms that characterize the skin disorder. They include:
- Pink or red areas of dry, thickened and raised skin.
- Mostly affects areas of repeated rubbing, use, abrasions or trauma such as the knees, elbows, scalp and lower back.
- Could also look like red patches, small flattened bumps or pink slightly dry skin.
- Pulling the white flakes could reveal a tiny blood spot.
- Genital lesions on the glands of the penis.
- Small pinpoint depressions on the nails.
- On the scalp, psoriasis looks like severe dandruff with read patches and dry flakes.
With these symptoms, you should never mistake psoriasis for any other skin infection such as skin irritation or yeast and fungal infections.
Psoriasis Home Remedies
You are now more than familiar with the probable cause and symptoms of psoriasis. However, all these information might not help you in case you wake up one morning and spot an infection. If you are suffering from this condition, you will be glad to learn that there are just too many remedies that you can try out. Dermatologists will always have oral pills and injections that can be administered to counter the condition. But what happens when you can't access the attention of a dermatologist? This is where home remedies for psoriasis come into play. These simple procedures will make sure your infection disappears faster than it appeared. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.
- Topical Creams and Lotions- The easiest way to treat psoriasis at home is to make use of the many topical creams, sprays and lotions that are designed for that specific use. The word topical simply implies that these substances are going to be applied directly on the skin surface. Note that this remedy will only be effective for small infections that affect less that 10% of the body surface. You can pre-order these creams from a chemist and have them at home since they usually have a diverse range of applications.
- Moisturizers- Moisture is one of the things your skin requires to function properly. Without moisture, the skin usually remains dry and scaly. This could only imply that psoriasis hugely compromises the ability of you skin to retain moisture at the affected areas. You can purchase non-prescription moisturizers with salicylic acid to therapeutic levels. These will go a long way in lessening the appearance of psoriasis scales. They are available in numerous trademark names such as Salex and AmLactin.
- Bathing in Salty Water- One of the interesting home remedies for psoriasis is actually bathing in water with high concentrations of salts. Psoriasis patients who could access waters with very high salt concentrations such as the Dead Sea are better off. The good thing about this therapy is that it is very safe and bears very few possible side effects, it any. The high salt concentration works to slough off the piled layers of skin and prevent formation of new layers.
- Sunlight- You could also use natural sunlight to treat psoriasis at home. Daily, controlled, brief exposure to the sun is a therapy every psoriasis patient should try out. However, you will have to make sure that the areas that aren't yet affected are protected from the rays of the sun. Highly sensitive parts such as the hands of face should also be concealed.
- Milk Thistle- Milk thistle inhibits activation of human T-cell activation which is the major cause of psoriasis. You can buy milk thistle from health food stores either in extract or tablet form. However, this herb should not be used when someone is also using male hormones or antipsychotics. It is one of the most effective herbal remedies though it is advisable to consult with your doctor before using the same.
- Oregano Oil- Oregon is often used in cooking and baking. This oil contains antifungal and antibacterial properties which are helpful for the purpose of preventing infections that are largely associated with psoriasis. You can buy this from any health food store. You can use Oregon oil topically or orally.
- Shark Cartilage- Shark cartilage extract helps prevent the formation of fresh blood vessels. Formation of new blood vessels is known to play a major role in progression and development of psoriasis lesions. In addition to this, it is also associated with anti-inflammatory properties which are essential for the purpose of aiding with quick recovery.
- Turmeric- Turmeric is found in most curry powders which are used for cooking. The spice owes its origin to Chinese medicine and it can be bought in capsules form to be used as a supplement. While this is the case, majority of people prefer to mix their food with the powdered spice for the purpose of treating psoriasis. Turmeric has proved to be effective herbal remedy and it can be used in accordance to patient discretion.
- Warm Olive Oil- If you have this problem on your scalp, you can use warm olive oil. Apply it on the scalp and gently massage it in. It helps soften psoriasis and also helps remove it. Shampoo and rinse normally afterwards.
- Epsom salts- You should add this to your bathing water everyday. It will help by keeping the swelling down and also heals the condition faster.
Diet for Psoriasis
The kind of diet you subscribe to will always have an impact on your health. This is why diet has a bearing on practically every disorder, of which psoriasis shouldn't be an exception. However, scientific research is yet to prove any relationship between a specific food substance and psoriasis. This is why you should not fall for any conclusive dietary advice as regards the skin condition. The guidelines provided for psoriasis patients are just a healthy diet that is friendly to the skin. Some of the foods you should take in include:
- Herbs and botanicals
Some of the food supplements proposed by the National Psoriasis Foundation include primrose oil, oregano oil and milk thistle. The foundation however warns that that you should not use herbs without consulting a dermatologist about potential side effects.
Prevention of Psoriasis
It should be clear by now that psoriasis is one very confusing skin condition, one whose exact cause is still being sought. However, you can save yourself the menace of looking for remedies by embracing prevention measures. Some of the things you can do to reduce chances of contracting the skin infection are:
- Eating a healthy diet so that the excretory and immune system functions properly. Fruits, vegetables and foods rich in minerals are highly recommended.
- Using creams and lotions: Use the right crop of creams, lotions and sprays to protect your skin from being infected.
- Use moisturizers to make sure your skin always has sufficient moisture.
- Avoid cold and dry climates that bring skin infections. If you can't then ensure your skin remains moisturized and you put on the right clothing.
- Avoid unnecessary stress that could trigger a psoriasis flare up or worsen a mild infection.
- Avoid medications such as lithium and beta-blockers that worsen skin infections.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking as much as you can.
With all these prevention tips, you will reduce your chances of getting a psoriasis infection. Practice them today and keep the skin infection at bay.
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