Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the skin cells. It is estimated that about 2-6% of people in the US have this condition. When a person suffers from psoriasis, their skin cells overproduce in days (rather than in weeks), which leads to patches of dry painful skin and/or flaky skin. In severe cases of psoriasis, large thick plaques of red inflamed skin may cover the entire body's surface.
Psoriasis runs in families, especially if there are other autoimmune disorders in the family. Inherited genetic defects affect the immune system and can cause psoriasis. Psoriasis is not contagious, and is not spread person to person.
Psoriasis can be triggered by a variety of different things. Stress is often a huge trigger for the start of the disorder and for flare-ups. Since psoriasis is mitigated by the immune system, infections and cold and flu seasons can be triggering. Every person has different triggers. It is important to figure out your personal trigger if you suffer from psoriasis. Certain inflammatory foods have been shown to trigger flareups in psoriasis as well.
In people with psoriasis, it is common from them to have comorbidities with diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Psoriasis is also associated with joint pain and arthritis and people often suffer from inflammation of the joints.
There is no cure for psoriasis, though the disorder often goes into remission and people can have clear patch free skin. Psoriasis is manageable with a variety of different methods.
A clean diet is important for the management of any autoimmune condition, especially psoriasis. There are a variety of different diets that work well for psoriasis. Autoimmune Paleo, Keto, and Soy Free Gluten/Grain-Free Plant based diets can work well. It is vital to reduce sugar intake, gluten, and other inflammatory nightshade vegetables. Often people find it helpful to do an elimination diet to see which foods trigger them and which foods help their skin. Cold water fish, seeds, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids are known for their ability to reduce inflammation specifically related to skin conditions. Avoid alcohol, as it can trigger an overreaction of the immune system.
Vitamin D supplements are often helpful in the treatment in psoriasis. Because people with psoriasis tend to have low vitamin D levels, it is good to check your levels with your providers. Omega-3 fatty acids and evening primrose have been shown to decrease inflammation in psoriasis. Milk thistle can help clear the liver, and it has shown to show some benefit for psoriasis. General skin, biotin, and collagen treatments have worked anecdotally.
Epsom salt baths and oatmeal baths can be soothing. A variety of different creams and lotions are sold over the counter that work at reducing flaking. When looking for psoriasis treatments it is important that they have natural ingredients, are steroid-free, and are made without fragrance, dyes, petroleum, mineral oil, or harsh preservatives (parabens). Wild Nature has a line of creams, body washes, and shampoos for flaky scalps. MG217 Psoriasis Care is available over the counter and has medicated creams that help treat dry patches. Dead Sea soap has been effective in some people for helping with dead skin and flaking. A scalp detox pre-shampoo product is another good way to manage your flaky skin on your head and prevent psoriasis related hair loss.
While psoriasis is a chronic disorder, determining one's triggers makes it manageable and possible to live a normal healthy life.