Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects approximately one in fifty people worldwide, and is the most common cause of skin damage. The rash associated with psoriasis is itchy, scaly and flaky, and the disease often begins in the mid to late teen years. It is not contagious or life threatening, but is more often experienced by teenagers, as their bodies develop at a much slower rate than adults.
There are many factors that can increase the risk of developing psoriasis. These include family history of the disease, skin disease including psoriasis, a family history of multiple skin disorders such as acne, eczema, or even lice, being male, and having dry skin. People who work in an environment where they are exposed to chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, or chlorine are at a greater risk of getting psoriasis. Psoriasis is also more commonly seen in people with a first or second degree relative with the disease. Those at a first or second degree relative with psoriasis have increased chances of getting the disease themselves.
Treatments for psoriasis vary depending on severity of the disease, but generally involve using topical steroid skin ointments or lotions, as well as moisturizers and anti-inflammatory medications. These can be in the form of creams, gels or liquid lotions. Medications that are prescribed for the treatment of psoriasis include cyclosporine, methotrexate, sulfates, azathioprine, corticosteroids, and oral antibiotics.
Surgical treatments are also available for those suffering from psoriasis, including laser surgery, dermabrasion, and photodynamic therapy. Topical steroids or sulfur can also be used to treat psoriasis, as well as topical creams, ointments, and lotions. Oral antibiotics such as erythromycin, tetracycline, or cefuroxime are used to fight against infection and inflammation in those with mild to moderate psoriasis. Corticosteroids may be used in severe cases of psoriasis, but these too can cause undesirable side effects such as loss of hair, vomiting, diarrhea, fluid retention, and swelling. Steroids that contain coal tar and other chemicals are generally not recommended by dermatologists due to their potential for addiction and the long term health risks associated with them.
Surgical treatments for psoriasis are often only required once psoriasis has become too severe. In these cases, doctors will usually perform biopsies on biopsy sites of patients with severe psoriasis to determine the cause of the psoriasis. Other treatments for psoriasis are also used on patients suffering from psoriasis, but these tend to be used for localized areas of the skin. They include phototherapy, fractional photothermolysis, and photodynamic therapy.
Treatments for psoriasis can be used to improve the look and condition of the skin. It is important to remember that psoriasis is not contagious, nor passed genetically. However, it is still important to practice caution when caring for the skin of individuals who suffer from this skin condition.