Basics of Psoriasis

In order to fully deal with the symptoms of psoriasis requires the need to understand what psoriasis is and how it affects your skin. No one really knows what causes psoriasis, but it is most closely related to a genetic link.

To understand psoriasis it’s important to figure out how normal skin works. During the course of a month, the skin cells go through their lifestyle process. The skin has two layers, the top and bottom layers. The newest layers of the skin form on the bottom layer and slowly make their way to the top. The top layer stays alive for those 28-30 days, before dying and falling away. The process isn’t noticeable at all and we all use thousands of skin cells each day during showers or towel drying afterwards.

When someone suffers with psoriasis, their skin process moves much faster. Often the cycle happens in only 3-4 days. The new cells develop much more quickly and force themselves through the top layer of skin. These new cells cause a bit of a buildup of dead skin on the surface. The good news is that the skins cells seem to affect only a small patch of skin at a time. The most common areas this happens in are the scalp, elbows, knees, or knuckles, but it can show up anywhere really. These areas of patchy, scaly, red skin are more commonly known as plaques.

Psoriasis remains a mystery as far as the main causes are concerned. Research has shown about 30% of all causes is based on family history. However, there are a few lifestyle choices that may be a factor as well. Excessive drinking, being overweight, too much stress, anxiety, sunburn, and even some medications can bring about psoriasis or make the symptoms a bit late.

Psoriasis may look a bit disconcerting, but it is not contagious and if you don’t have it you won’t get it. The symptoms affect each person differently; while one person may have small areas of patchy skin, others will have patches all over the body. In any case, psoriasis has no cure but learning to know if you have it or not is the first step in finding ways to prevent breakouts.

Types of Psoriasis

If you have ever dealt with psoriasis you know the feeling of struggling with red, itchy, scaly skin. Do you know what type of psoriasis you have? Were you even aware there were more than just one type? There are, in fact, three main types of psoriasis and although the basic symptoms are the same, they are all a little bit different.

All forms of psoriasis affect the skin. They can cause a few different problems and if you are lucky they will only cause one problem at a time. Psoriasis is famous for the redness of skin and the shedding. There are two layers of skin, the top and bottom. The top layer is the old skin, it lasts for a few weeks and then begins to shed off on its own. The bottom layer is the new skin growth that takes over for the shedding skin. Shedding skin is a normal procedure, but it happens over time so that we don’t notice. In psoriasis, we notice because the bottom lay tries to move up to the top before the top is ready to shed. This leaves cracks in the skin and gives it that red look. On top of that, the skin may start to become inflamed. If you scratch at the skin while it is flaky, red, and peeling, you could get weeping lesions and scaling on the affected area.

Those are the main symptoms for the basic three types of psoriasis: Guttate, Plaque, and Seborrheic. Plaque Psoriasis is the most common type of the disease. Each person is different, but for the most part it appears as patchy, thick flaky skin that causes itching and inflammation. If the skin is damaged skin gets injured in some other way, it is easily infected.

Guttate Psoriasis mainly affects children and young adults. It often follows after a bout of strep throat or other infections and causes red bumps on the skin. This form is often misdiagnosed as an allergic reaction rash or a fever rash. The good news is that it clears up with antibiotics, the kind taken for the strep, and it almost never comes back again.

Seborrheic Psoriasis is often mistaken for a serious cause of dandruff because it affects the scalp, ears, hairline, and forehead. Some medicated shampoos work to eliminate the flaking, but it can still be problematic.

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