Normally, skin cells go through a month-long life cycle. New cells are formed deep within the skin, and over a period of about plaque 28 to 30 days they make their way to the top of the skin. By that time the old skin cells die and are sloughed off by everyday routines such as showering and towelling off.
The skin of a person with plaque psoriasis, however, goes into fast-forward. The entire skin cell process happens in three or four days, causing a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This quickening of skin cells usually happens in patches, mostly on the scalp, lower back, elbows, knees, and knuckles.
The causes of the condition remain a mystery. In about 32 percent of psoriasis cases, there’s a family history of the condition, which means there is a significant genetic link. There are specific lifestyle factors that can aggravate psoriasis or make symptoms worse. Drinking alcohol, being overweight, stress, a lingering case of strep throat, anxiety, some medicines, and sunburn all tend to make psoriasis even more unbearable.
The most important to know about plaque psoriasis is that it isn’t contagious, though it looks like it might be. Some people end up with mild cases of the condition that produce small patches of red scales. Others are plagued by psoriasis — it covers large areas of their body with thick scales. Some people even get psoriasis in their nails, which cause the nails to become pitted and malformed and even to break away from the skin. And in some rare cases, a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis develops.
WebMD reports that there is no cure for psoriasis.
Treatments to Manage Psoriasis
The purpose of treatment has been to slow the rapid growth of skin cells that causes psoriasis and to reduce inflammation. Treatment is based on the type of psoriasis, its location, its severity, age and overall health. It also depends on how much the patient is affected by the condition, either physically (because of factors such as joint pain) or emotionally (because of embarrassment or frustration from a skin rash that may cover a large or visible area of the body).
Many types of treatment are available for the management and temporary relief, including products applied to the skin, phototherapy, and oral medicines, which can help control psoriasis. Mild types are easier to treat with skin products. In some cases, psoriasis can be hard to treat if it is severe and widespread.
Most type of psoriasis returns, even mild forms.
Recent discoveries about the causes of psoriasis have led to some new approaches to treatment. Biologic medicines target the immune system response that causes the symptoms of psoriasis. The evidence suggests that these new drugs have fewer side effects than pills used to treat psoriasis. Biologic drugs usually work very well and can improve psoriasis when nothing else does. However, they work by suppressing the immune system, so rarely they can cause serious infections and possibly cancer.
Alternative therapies in the treatment of Psoriasis
WebMD reports that 38% of American adults afflicted with psoriasis used some form of alternative or complementary medicine.
Creams, ointments, lotions, and other medicines spread on the skin work better for some people than for others. If one medicine does not clear up psoriasis, dermatologists are likely to advise patients to try another medicine such as a Siddha formulation for combination of treatments.