Psoriasis: An Overview
Usually, as skin is worn away, it is replaced by new cells produced beneath the surface. In the case of psoriasis, cell production is sped up in certain areas and skin cells pile up faster than they can be shed. Stress, damage to the skin, or a period of generally poor health can trigger this outbreak of unsightly thickening of the skin.
Psoriasis is usually seen as silvery-white patches of thickened, scaly skin that often has a red rim. The patches may be somewhat itchy or sore and be small, isolated patches or large groupings. Common sites for psoriasis are the knees, elbows, and scalp. In some cases, psoriasis is associated with a form of arthritis. Psoriasis can occur on hands and feet, usually in the form of raised areas with painful cracks or little blisters filled with white fluid. Toenails and fingernails can become thickened, pitted, and separated from the skin beneath.
Treating psoriasis can be minimal or extensive, depending on the extent of affected skin and the personal level of distress. Some people are able to identify their personal triggers for outbreaks and prevent them for occurring as often. Physician help may be requested in order to achieve clear skin. There are a variety of ways of treating psoriasis. Exposure to ultraviolet rays of sunlamps or the sun may improve psoriasis, but a sunburn will definitely make the condition worse. Skin care such as tar compounds, anthralin, and corticosteroids can be beneficial, as well as oral medications. For more intense outbreaks, more powerful topical drugs or ultraviolet treatments combined with medication may be necessary. Most individual outbreaks are able to be defeated with the available psoriasis treatment that has been proven to work best for that individual.