Updated: Aug 17
Do you struggle with this skin issue? Can it be overwhelming at times internally and externally to find workable solutions? Rest assured you are not alone!
Every year, a month is dedicated to raise awareness of psoriasis. Why? Simply put, the general public doesn't fully understand this skin condition and how it affects those who struggle with it.
Before we define psoriasis, let’s discuss how it actually starts. Most doctors and scientist agree on one thing when it comes to psoriasis: there has to be something that triggers it off!
What Triggers Psoriasis?
Imbalanced immune system. Certain cells which normally fight invading germs begin attacking healthy cells. Result – unusually rapid production of new skin cells
Skin injuries or surgery sites. Skin suddenly develops plaques or thick scaly layers on the outside. Injuries can be mild as a mosquito bite, or stings, burns, cuts or simply rubbing the skin too hard.
Excessive alcohol intake
Allergies from things that irritate the skin
Tattoos, Vaccines, Acupuncture
Now that we have an idea of what triggers psoriasis, we can now define it.
What Is Psoriasis?
Medical definition states “a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of thick skin covered with pale looking scales.”
An idea of what Psoriasis of the skin
may look like without treatment.
We know it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. But if your reaction was a little “jaded” because of what you see. Can you begin to empathise with sufferers? Further, how can you give support and help?
Here in Britain, according to the NHS latest update on Psoriasis this condition affects 2% of people, it can start at any age (including babies) and affects both men and women equally. It also states there are varying degrees of psoriasis; from a minor irritation to complete disruption of any quality of life. It can flare up at some stages with mild episodes or severe symptomatic episodes.
How Do Psoriasis Sufferers Cope?
For those with mild symptoms, over the counter drugs or general prescribed medications help to control psoriasis. However, for those with more severe symptoms, its not that easy!
Psoriasis can affect hard to treat areas like our scalp, face, palms, nails, underfoot and genitals. This impacts significantly on a persons quality of life, their interaction in personal relationships and carrying out everyday activities which include socialising.
An abstract data from the Danish Skin Cohort had a detailed description based on their scientific studies on the prevalence of psoriasis on 4016 adults over 18 years of age and the impact it had on their quality of life and mental health.
It highlighted among other things that there is a need for more support for sufferers because as discussed, the negative impact on quality of life in all areas.
The following diagram is an excerpt from that study. You can analyse further details here.
So how do sufferers cope? There are support groups in the UK like Psoriasis Association, the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance (PAPAA) and the National Psoriasis Foundation. These are “big umbrella” organisation that not only explain your condition but point you in the right direction for further help and support as curtailed to your specific needs.
However, we are more interested on a personal level. How can you and I help? Well psoriasis sufferers have been known to be stigmatised because of their skin condition at work or school. Others have lost job opportunities or have been rejected from social groups. Some individuals are under the mistaken notion that this skin condition is infectious. There is no evidence to support this.
We can all help today, by not only gaining more knowledge and insight about this condition but also supporting sufferers by including them in social activities. Raising awareness is most effective.
Is There A Permanent Cure For Psoriasis?
There is no known permanent cure for psoriasis. However, this skin condition, whether mild or severe can be controlled with medications or skin treatments under a doctors guidance.
By taking care of ourselves mentally and trying to alleviate stress triggers, also contribute to controlling flare ups. Physical care of our skin is very important. Once we detect any worrying changes to our skin we should seek medical help before it escalates. Get to know your skin.
There is much talk about Dead Sea Treatment for psoriasis.
Let us introduce you to patient EJ.
EJ is under the care of Nurse Practitioner Monica Richley at the Division of Rheumatology at Northwell Health in New York. At age 20 EJ was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. He had a drug combination of adalimumab and methotrexate. This successfully kept his joint disease in check but had no impact on his psoriasis.
He had an aggressive form of psoriasis with significantly thick plaques that proved resistant to treatments, the most popular being topical steroids. You can read about EJ here.
The only real relief EJ received from time to time was to take month long trips to the Dead Sea to experiment with climatherapy. His trips usually last around 30 days. What happens during those 30 days?
EJ exposes himself to the sun and treats his skin with the mud from the Dead Sea. He returns home with a clear skin. Unfortunately, this only last two to three months and his flare ups re-occur.
The medical team, experimented with different drugs and combination of drugs to help EJ with his psoriasis and his arthritis. A tricky feat to accomplish. Sometimes, they succeeded: sometimes they didn’t.
Why was it that the Dead Sea, sun and the mud was able to help this patient? Some theorise the high magnesium chloride concentration in the water.
Others, theorise that solar radiation at the Dead Sea is filtered due to it’s location being 400 metres below sea level.
They conclude that a combination of sun exposure, at this low sea level and high mineral content of water has been effective in treating many skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema.
Image of Dead Sea With Built Up Salt
Please, don’t go rushing off to buy dead sea salt skin products and soak in a bath thinking this is a solution. We would have to get the sun’s unique ultraviolet spectrum as it occurs at the Dead Sea for this to work. It just wouldn't happen!
Additionally, scientists have not been able to harness this combination in a lab as yet for it to work for our skin. If they had, we wouldn't be writing this article.
The point we are making is that natural alternatives to remedy some skin conditions do work. Harnessing the use of nature with scientific input is most effective. If you are concerned about other minor skin issues why not try natural alternatives.
Psoriasis is a skin issue that is here to stay. There is no known cure for it. It is not an infectious disease and can be controlled. Once we are aware of what triggers flare ups and take care of our skin we are in a better position to treat psoriasis.
Awareness of psoriasis will also help in not only giving sufferers support but will ultimately provide a more inclusive environment for them to function in.
Do you know a friend, family member, schoolmate, work colleague or neighbour who suffer with this skin condition? Can you do your personal bit by reaching out to them in a kind way showing that you care? It doesn't take much. A genuine sincere interest like asking, how do they cope.
Our skin works hard to protect our bodies. Sometimes we forget how hard it works and take our skin for granted.
Why not find a way to say thanks to your skin today.
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