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What Causes Psoriasis and How to Manage Symptoms


By , Managing Editor
Monday, August 20, 2012
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Psoriasis is a condition many people suffer from in silence, embarrassed by the appearance of their skin and covering up as much as possible. If you have this condition, it's important to know you're one of an estimated 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis, according to Psoriasis Speaks, and there are several methods of treatment available to you, both conventional and holistic.

What is psoriasis?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that isn't contagious. The typical age for developing this common condition is between 15 and 35. A psoriasis outbreak occurs when dead skin cells build up on the skin's surface faster than normal.

There are five main types of psoriasis:

  1. Plaque: Thick, red skin patches with noticeable silver-white flakes referred to as scales (the most common form)
  2. Pustular: Red, irritated skin accompanied by white blisters
  3. Erythrodermic: Very large patches of bright red skin
  4. Guttate: Small spots that are pink or red
  5. Inverse: Inflammation particularly in the folds of the skin, such as the armpits or groin

Psoriasis outbreaks are typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp (severe dandruff can be a sign) and abdomen. Different treatments can address the unique symptoms of each type. It's important to be open and honest with your healthcare provider about the type of outbreaks you're experiencing, to determine the best care.

What causes an outbreak?
Psoriasis patients can go long periods of time without symptoms, but they can be triggered by a number of physical and mental factors which make maintaining overall wellness an essential part of treatment. Causes of a psoriasis outbreak include:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Infection (antibiotics may also be needed)
  • Dry air
  • Dry skin
  • Too much or too little sun exposure
  • Stress
  • Certain medications
  • Skin injuries such as bug bites, burns or cuts

You can start managing your psoriasis by keeping a journal of your symptoms. Be sure to note when they come on, intensity and duration, any changes from previous symptoms and what you were doing prior. You may be able to determine a pattern.

Natural Treatments
There are many oral and intravenous treatments available for this condition, which are called systemic treatments, because they work with the body's immune system. However, if you're looking for other ways to find relief for your symptoms, there are a variety of topical treatments to help including, lotions, creams, shampoos and ointments.

Look for these ingredients to help soothe your skin and relieve symptoms naturally:

  • Salicylic Acid -- This type of acid is commonly used for skin conditions because it's a natural exfoliant that helps to remove dead skin cells and can be used daily.
  • Oregon Grape -- Identified by its scientific name as Berberis aquifolium, these grapes grow on an evergreen shrub, Mahonia aquifolium. The plant and berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • MSM --  Also known as methylsulfonylmethane, MSM is a natural source of organic sulfur that helps to moisturize and heal the inflamed skin.
  • Nettle -- The leaves of the nettle plant have anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Sarsaparilla -- This root is used medicinally to cleanse the blood as a natural detoxifier that also reduces inflammation and balances hormones.

You can also try adding ingredients like Epsom salts, oatmeal or apple cider vinegar (one cup for every gallon) to your bath water to help remove dead skin cells and ease itching and redness.

Try a mix of treatments to learn what works best with your body to keep your psoriasis in check and speak with your doctor before changing or beginning new treatments. There may not be a cure for psoriasis now, but there are several ways to keep your skin clear and healthy -- just don't be afraid to ask.

 


Products you may like:

Home Health Products Psoriasis Cream  Home Health Products Psoriasis Cream 
Why you may like this product? This cream from Home Health Products contains two percent salicylic acid which can help gently exfoliate dead skin cells. You can apply this cream up to four times a day for relief.
Trimedica MSM Lotion  Trimedica MSM Lotion 
Why you may like this product? This lotion from TriMedica can help soothe and heal inflamed skin caused by psoriasis. MSM helps to promote healing and this lotion contains 15 percent MSM that's 99.9 percent pure.
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