While not a life threatening condition, psoriasis is chronic and can affect your quality of life. It is a skin disease which disturbs the phases of skin cell development and shedding. What happens is that new skin cells take several weeks to move from the deepest skin layer when skin cell production begins to the outside layer where they die and fall off. With psoriasis, the phases of skin cell development take mere days instead of weeks resulting in an accumulation of skin cells. This accumulation is in the form of thick scales and patches of dry, red skin.
While chronic, psoriasis may go into periods of remission or noticeable improvement. Some people who have arthritis may become disabled when that condition is coupled with psoriasis because of the pain. No one has found a cure, although there are remedies that can provide moderate to extreme relief. There are both self-treatment options as well as options that require medical intervention.
Types of Psoriasis
The most common appearance of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis which forms red, dry skin lesions also known as plaques which are covered in scales. These lesions are sore and may itch. This type of psoriasis can be found anywhere on the body and there are levels of severity with the worst being areas that crack and bleed.
Scalp psoriasis is another common condition which strongly resembles dandruff. You would have itchy red areas on the scalp which form the telltale silvery scales. These slough off easily but they also form new layers of scales rather quickly.
Guttate Flaky Skin Condition
Some children and young adults may develop guttate psoriasis which is often triggered by an infection they get like strep throat. This type of psoriasis looks like small droplets that often form on the scalp legs, trunk and arms but form sores which then crust over into the telltale scales. For some, it is a one time thing while for others who may be susceptible to illness, it may be repeated.
There are at least five other types of psoriasis but they do not occur as often as the ones listed above. Only a medical professional can accurately assess the type of psoriasis you may have. A theory about why psoriasis develops is often bandied about and it has to do with the bodys T-cells mistaking the healthy skin cells as enemies which could account for the fast life cycle of the skin cell development process.
It is important to note that everyones psoriasis reacts quite differently to treatment so what may work for one person may not work for you. Traditionally, the first line of defense is to start off with a mild treatment like topical ointments or even phototherapy which is ultraviolet light therapy. Then slowly step up the intensity of the treatments as necessary.
The goal of any psoriasis treatment option is to find a way to slow down the process of the turnover of skin cells without creating too many side effects in the process. It may take years to find a treatment that works best for you.