What is Psoriasis?
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Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes excessive skin cell growth. Rashes, patches and flaking skin are the most common symptoms. Learn more.
Transcript: When it comes to skin conditions, Psoriasis is one of the most common. In fact, it's so common about...
When it comes to skin conditions, Psoriasis is one of the most common. In fact, it's so common about 2% of the entire U.S. population has it, making it the most prevalent autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, there is NO cure for Psoriasis, but learning to recognize symptoms early will help you get a quick start when it comes to treating this often uncomfortable condition. So what does Psoriasis look like? Usually, it causes skin to become red and inflamed as well as form dry, flaky, silvery colored patches. It can also be extremely tender and itchy. Flare-ups may appear as just a few small patches or be spread out over a large section of the body. Typically, it forms on the knees or elbows, but can also crop up on places like the scalp, hands, feet, and back. And while it may look contagious, it's not. Experts believe psoriasis susceptibility is passed through families, sometimes skipping a generation. What's being passed along is not actually a skin problem but an immune system glitch. More specifically the white blood cells, called the T-cells, in your body that target invading germs, viruses, and bacteria get confused. They mistake your healthy skin cells for "bad guys" and attack. As a result, your skin cells reproduce so rapidly to try to get rid of a non-existing infection that your body can't shed them fast enough-hence the flakey buildup. This will continue to happen until the area is treated. Most people don't start to show symptoms until between the ages of 15 to 30. Outbreaks are often triggered by stress, damage to the skin like sunburn, cold weather, or certain medications like those used to treat depression or high blood pressure. Bad habits like smoking and heavy drinking can also be triggers. To find out more about Psoriasis and treatment options, check out the rest of the videos in this series.More »
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Treatment of psoriasis depends upon the severity of the disease. It can be treated with creams or phototherapy treatment. Take a look at this video and find out more about treating psoriasis.
Transcript: There's nothing attractive about red, flaking, irritated skin. Unlike rough patches caused by dry air...
There's nothing attractive about red, flaking, irritated skin. Unlike rough patches caused by dry air and under-moisturizing, Psoriasis is a disease that triggers skin cells to grow at a faster rate than your body can shed them. Because there is no cure, treating Psoriasis for some can mean a lifetime commitment, but, thankfully, there are ways to find relief. Here are three methods doctors usually recommend. Most mild to moderate cases can be treated topically with a prescription lotion or cream. Corticosteroids are often used because they pack a triple punch by reducing inflammation, slowing skin cell turnover, and stifling your over-active immune system-which is the root cause of Psoriasis. One downside to corticosteroids is that over time they can thin and lighten the skin, making them only a good short-term option. Other topical medications that can be used to control Psoriasis outbreaks include creams like Calcipotriene to slow cell growth, lotions with tar or Anthralin to bring down swelling and inflammation, vitamin A derivatives such as tazorac to decrease inflammation and regulate cell growth, or topicals with salicylic or lactic acid to remove scaling. A second method, often used in tandem with topical creams is a light therapy called Phototherapy. This is when your skin is exposed to specific types of ultraviolet light in small, controlled doses. The invisible light wavelengths penetrate the skin, helping to kill the T-cells or white blood cells that are attacking that area of your body as if it was a foreign virus. The result is less inflammation and scaling. A final treatment option-usually used with severe cases-is oral medications or injections. These work from the inside out to suppress your immune system and inhibit cells from turning over too rapidly. The list includes complicated sounding drugs like Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, and Oral Retinoids. There are newer injectable medications called "biologics," such as enbrel, humira, and stellara, which specifically target portions of the immune system that are on overdrive in psoriasis. Side effects vary with each medication, ranging from severe infections, to liver damage to hair loss, so it is important to follow up with your dermatologist to be monitored appropriately. If extended treatment is needed, your doctor may alternate between different medications. To learn more about Psoriasis and natural ways to treat it, check out the rest of the videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-31 | Tags »
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You should monitor your condition and take your psoriasis medications regularly. Managing psoriasis symptoms can be as easy as the 3 step process in this video.
Transcript: Psoriasis can be painful and unsightly, but learning how to care for your skin can save you from a lot...
Psoriasis can be painful and unsightly, but learning how to care for your skin can save you from a lot of unnecessary discomfort. Follow this 3-step daily routine to feel better fast. Step one: Soak for 15 minutes a day. Psoriasis plagued skin likes nothing more than a warm bath. It helps to soothe inflammation and wash away dead cell buildup. Skip hot water and harsh soaps-they'll just dry you out more--and wash with milder, sensitive skin formulas. Step two: Moisturize. Spread a thick cream or lotion, like Vaseline or Eucerin, over your skin to keep it hydrated. It is best to do this immediately after a bath or shower to better lock in moisture. Lotion can also be used to help remove flaking. Rub it on to the affected area to soften the skin and then very gently peel away any loose flakes. This helps the rest of the moisturizer sink down deeper where it's needed most. Reapply, throughout the day, as you feel your skin starting to dry out. Step 3: Stick with your medication. If you have any prescribed creams or ointments, make sure to keep up with them as your doctor recommended. They're your best defense against new cell growth. Daily washing and moisturizing helps slough off the old cells but won't keep new Psoriasis outbreaks from happening. If you're not taking anything for persistent flare-ups, consider setting up a visit with your dermatologist-especially if your condition is severe or uncomfortable. To learn more about Psoriasis treatment options, check out the rest of the videos in this series.More »
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There is a possible connection between psoriasis and food. There is evidence that our well-being is connected with what we eat. Learn more through our video.
Transcript: Can your diet affect your psoriasis? The official verdict is still out on the role that food plays in...
Can your diet affect your psoriasis? The official verdict is still out on the role that food plays in psoriasis flare-ups. However, this doesn't mean your diet has NO impact, just that more research needs to be done. Studies have found time and time again that what we eat really DOES influence how well our bodies function. While none of these adjustments to your diet have been proven to work, some long-time psoriasis sufferers claim they get results: Try cutting out GLUTEN, a protein found in wheat and grain products. Newer research suggests that people who have celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction to gluten, are more likely to suffer from psoriasis. Many supermarkets now carry gluten free versions of foods like breads, cereals, and pastas, so you don't necessarily have to stop eating things you love. Next, don't overdo it with alcohol and don't smoke. Both may make you more susceptible to flare-ups-especially if you are male. Also, alcohol can cancel out some positive effects of psoriasis medications. DO eat a wholesome, well-balanced diet. Foods rich in nutrients like fruits and veggies are not only loaded with vitamins to keep your body running at its best, but they can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Obesity in childhood is thought to increase the risk of developing psoriasis later on. There is also a large body of evidence suggesting that psoriasis may increase the chance that you will become overweight and suffer from diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure; The exact relationship is still a mystery but inflammation associated with obesity may help trigger autoimmune problems that lead to psoriasis. Finally, don't fall prey to "cure all" diet claims. While some people may insist they get relief from following certain strict diet regimens, diet alone WON'T rid you of your symptoms. Varying factors like stress, environment, and genetics also have an influence. However, if you find a certain food seems to be triggering your psoriasis, trying cutting it out. You might also want to try keeping a diary of the foods you're eating and see if any correlate with your breakouts. For more information on psoriasis, watch other videos in this series.More »
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Apart from medication, you can help your condition with a few home remedies for psoriasis. Vinegar and oatmeal are a few examples of household items that can help soothe psoriasis.
Transcript: When you're in a pinch and your Psoriasis is acting up, look no further than your kitchen cupboards....
When you're in a pinch and your Psoriasis is acting up, look no further than your kitchen cupboards. Here's how to use items already in your home to relieve that itchy skin. First, let's talk oatmeal. Not only is it a healthy breakfast, but it also holds known soothing powers. Toss about a cup of dry oats into a warm bath to reduce itchiness and the buildup of loose cells. Another bath time remedy to try is an apple cider vinegar soak. Just add vinegar to warm water and immerse yourself in it for about 15 minutes. Many have found it helps to take the edge off scratchy skin. White vinegar also holds similar healing potential. Soak a washcloth in a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 4 parts water and apply for 5 to 10 minutes to ease discomfort. This can be done twice a day. This method is especially effective for killing off bacteria and yeast that occurs with psoriasis outbreaks near and around the rectum. For Psoriasis of the scalp, break out the olive oil. Massage a healthy amount of warm olive oil into your scalp, wrap your head in a towel, and let it soak in for a few hours. Next, run a comb over your scalp in gentle circular motions to remove scale buildup. This also helps any medicated shampoo you may use next to penetrate deeper. Finally, the secret to ultra-moisturized skin: plastic wrap. Yes, plastic wrap. First, apply a thick cream, lotion, or ointment to the affected area and then seal it with plastic wrap. The moisture is forced to penetrate your skin. For best results, leave it on over night for an extra good soak. For more ways to stop the itch check out the rest of the videos in this series.More »
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Scalp psoriasis can involve mild itchiness or severe flares. Find out how to treat this condition in this video about psoriasis and your scalp.
Transcript: Psoriasis, whether on the scalp or elsewhere on the skin, interrupts the body's natural process of shedding...
Psoriasis, whether on the scalp or elsewhere on the skin, interrupts the body's natural process of shedding dead skin cells. This causes the cells to build up on the skin's surface, forming rough, thick patches. If the skin on your scalp is red, itchy or scaly, you may have scalp psoriasis, a condition that affects nearly 4 out of 5 people with psoriasis. Psoriasis may come and go, but when it flares up on your scalp it announces its presence by flakes of dead skin in your hair or on your shoulders, especially after scratching your scalp. In severe cases it can even cause a thickened plaque and crust to form on the scalp and along the hairline. To prevent and manage scalp psoriasis, try avoiding triggers such as stress, cold weather, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, certain infections or injuries to the skin. Medicated shampoos containing ingredients such as coal tar, salicylic acid, and corticosteroids can effectively control the flaking and itching associated with mild scalp psoriasis. UV light therapy or exposure to the sun can also help relieve symptoms of scalp psoriasis. For more severe cases of scalp psoriasis, your doctor or dermatologist may prescribe topical treatments such as corticosteroid foams or solutions, which are easier to use on the scalp, vitamin D analogs -- such as calcipotriene -- retinoids or skin products with salicylic acid. Systemic treatments for psoriasis can include retinoids, methotrexate or immunomodulators. Talk to your doctor about which treatment might be best for you. For more information on managing psoriasis, watch the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-31 | Tags »
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The weather impacts skin shedding and moisture, so climate and seasonal changes do affect psoriasis. Watch this video to see what steps to take in different seasons.
Transcript: Our skin can behave differently with each season, but if you have psoriasis the weather may REALLY affect...
Our skin can behave differently with each season, but if you have psoriasis the weather may REALLY affect your itching and redness. Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects the body's natural process of shedding dead skin cells, causing patches of rough, red, itchy skin. Winter flare-ups are common with psoriasis. The cold, dry air and decreased sun exposure of winter can worsen psoriasis symptoms, leaving you with itchier, redder skin. Also, anything that affects your immune system can in turn, affect your psoriasis. Which means a winter cold or flu can trigger a psoriasis flare. On the other hand, the hotter, more humid air of summer can mean psoriasis relief. A certain amount of ultraviolet light from the sun can reduce the itching and inflammation of psoriasis, and increase your body's production of vitamin D, which is known to improve psoriasis symptoms. In the winter, try to avoid getting sick by washing your hands and staying rested. Keeping a humidifier on in your home can reduce dry skin and ease psoriasis symptoms. And a topical vitamin D ointment from your doctor can replace winter's lacking UV rays and also improve irritated skin. In the summer, remember that even though SOME sun can improve your psoriasis, too MUCH can worsen symptoms and damage skin, so it's important to keep sun exposure to a minimum - meaning don't get burned! -- and wear sunscreen. For more information on psoriasis, watch other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-30 | Tags »
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There are a number of psoriasis myths and fictions about this skin disease. Do not fall for what people say, watch this video for the facts.
Transcript: Psoriasis is an often misunderstood skin condition, that commonly gets confused with other skin diseases...
Psoriasis is an often misunderstood skin condition, that commonly gets confused with other skin diseases AND linked to the wrong causes, so it's important to clear up some common myths. Myth: Psoriasis is the same as eczema. Psoriasis IS often confused with eczema, another itchy skin condition caused by skin irritants and environmental factors, and it's understandable to see why. They DO look very similar. Psoriasis, however, is believed to be an IMMUNE disorder that disrupts the body's natural ability to shed dead skin cells, causing skin to build up into rough, itchy, inflamed patches. On the other hand, eczema has been shown to be more of an issue with abnormally dry skin due to defective components of the upper layers of the skin. When skin is very dry, it is easier for allergens to get in and stimulate the immune system, resulting in the red rash with which we associate with eczema. Myth: Psoriasis is contagious. You CAN NOT catch psoriasis, but if you have psoriasis certain triggers CAN inflame or worsen your skin. Infections, skin injuries, stress, smoking and weather changes are just some of the triggers that can affect people with psoriasis. Myth: Allergies and diet cause psoriasis. They do not. There's no scientific proof that allergies or diet CAUSE psoriasis, but occasionally sensitivities in your diet could trigger a psoriasis flare. If you think some foods may worsen your psoriasis, keep a food journal and see if you can find a link between your diet and psoriasis. Myth: You can cure psoriasis. There is no cure for psoriasis, so avoid any products offering permanent relief. Certain treatments CAN keep psoriasis very manageable and under control, though, so head to your dermatologist to go over your options. For more information on psoriasis, watch other videos in this series.More »
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There are a number of medications available for the treatment of psoriasis. See what psoriasis medications doctors can prescribe for treatment in this video.
Transcript: Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the body cannot properly shed dead skin cells, causing...
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the body cannot properly shed dead skin cells, causing itchy, red, scaly skin build up. Psoriasis can NOT be cured, but it can be managed. When psoriasis flares up, your doctor or dermatologist can give you several treatment options. The GOAL of any psoriasis treatment is to help the skin shed dead skin and heal irritated patches. Over-the-counter topical medications include creams and ointments with salicylic acid and coal tar. These ingredients help you shed dead skin cells and slow the growth of new skin cells, as well as reduce the inflammation and itching of psoriasis. Prescription topical treatments for psoriasis include those with forms of vitamin D and vitamin A, also known as retinoids. These can normalize skin cell production and remove psoriasis lesions. More PERSISTENT psoriasis may need topical steroid creams to control inflammation and reduce the psoriasis swelling and redness. If your psoriasis does not respond to topical treatment, your doctor may prescribe oral medications. Drugs such as cyclosporine help regulate the immune system and the skin's response to psoriasis. Another medication, methotrexate, is commonly prescribed to psoriasis patients to slow skin cell growth. Biologic drugs - one of the newest treatments to show promise in treating psoriasis -- are derived from living cells. Biologics act by blocking the immune cells that cause the development of psoriasis. Given intravenously or by injection, biologics such as etanercept, adalimumab and ustekinumab can disrupt the inflammatory cycle of psoriasis. Talk to your doctor about the risks of these and other psoriasis treatments.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-30 | Tags »
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UV therapy is an effective method of treatment for psoriasis. It helps build up vitamin D in the skin and reduce inflammation in severe cases. Learn more about this therapy in our video.
Transcript: If you have psoriasis, a little sun can do you a world of good. An effective treatment option for psoriasis...
If you have psoriasis, a little sun can do you a world of good. An effective treatment option for psoriasis is phototherapy or heliotherapy from moderate natural sunlight or sunlamps. Exposing skin with psoriasis to the ultraviolet B or UVB rays from the sun or sun lamps can effectively treat patches of irritated and inflamed psoriasis skin. It is not entirely clear exactly how UVB helps treat psoriasis. It has been shown that UVB can decrease local inflammation, as well as increase vitamin D production in the skin. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient we get from sun exposure, diet and supplements. It regulates the immune system and cellular growth, and vitamin D deficiency can cause many chronic health conditions. Sun treatment in people with psoriasis boosts vitamin D levels and has been shown to ease psoriasis symptoms. If you undergo phototherapy, you should start to see results over several weeks of initiating treatment. However, UVB rays also raise your risk of skin cancer. It is easy to go overboard when self treating at home with sunlamps or lying out at the beach, so it is important to discuss the best approach with your dermatologist. Phototherapy units are an excellent option as they provide disease modifying doses of UVB in a controlled and monitored setting, often in a hospital. Laser treatment is an alternative to natural sunlight and sun lamp exposure. The excimer laser emits a wavelength in the UVB spectrum and can be effective for small areas. The pulsed dye laser has also been shown to be helpful in treating nail psoriasis, which is often a very tricky and disabling form. Another tip - DON'T replace natural sunlight with tanning beds. The beds mostly emit UVA light, which DOESN'T treat your psoriasis. Plus, tanning beds are a known carcinogen-they increase risk of melanoma, or skin cancer, by 75 percent! For more information on psoriasis treatments, watch other videos in this series.More »
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While medication may give you relief from your psoriasis symptoms, you might not know about the side effects of psoriasis drugs. Learn about how these drugs affect your body in this video.
Transcript: Psoriasis treatments can relieve your itchy, inflamed skin, But like ALL medications, they do come with...
Psoriasis treatments can relieve your itchy, inflamed skin, But like ALL medications, they do come with potential side effects. Over-the-counter topical medications containing coal tar and salicylic acid have most minor side effects, BUT are usually only effective in mild cases. They can be strong smelling, occasionally cause additional skin irritation, can stain your clothing, and at HIGH concentrations coal tar is potentially carcinogenic. Topical corticosteroid creams can be an important step in fighting the inflammation of psoriasis, but they can only be used for a short period of time. Prolonged use of steroid creams may damage or thin skin, cause skin redness, bruising and discoloration. If you are using very strong topical steroids, they may affect internal organs when used over LONG periods of time. Prescription topical treatments containing forms of vitamin D and A can also effectively relieve psoriasis skin plaques, but these can also cause skin irritation and sun sensitivity. Additionally, if you're pregnant, you'll need to avoid ANY vitamin A treatments as they can cause severe birth defects in babies. One of the oldest oral treatments for psoriasis is methotrexate. It's safe for most patients, but it DOES increase the risk of infection because it modifies your immune system. If you take methotrexate, your treatment should be monitored by your doctor since there is a low chance of liver damage. It is also very important that you do not drink alcohol and avoid certain medications when using methotrexate. However, the BENEFITS of methotrexate usually outweigh the risk - it slows down the growth rate of skin cells by stopping the enzyme behind the process. Methotrexate is one of the most common and most TRUSTED medications for other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the newer medications, called biologics, which include enbrel and humira, also carry some risks similar to methotrexate. For example, if you lower the immune system, you are at higher risk for certain types of infections. These medications, however, specifically target only the immune system, and tend not to have any impact on the liver or your red blood cells. These side effects SEEM frightening, but don't worry too much - the medications have been proven safe by the millions of psoriasis patients who use them every day. And, your doctor has your best interest at heart - make sure you discuss any potential side effects before you begin a new treatment. He or she will take your specific medical history in consideration when prescribing your psoriasis medication. For more information on psoriasis, watch other videos in this series.More »
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It is important to know what environmental elements cause psoriasis to flare. Learn more in this video about psoriasis triggers and how to avoid such situations to prevent inflammation.
Transcript: Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the body cannot properly shed dead skin cells, causing...
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the body cannot properly shed dead skin cells, causing itchy, red, scaly skin build up....but it's not always the same. It can come and go, flaring up at times, then clearing up at others. While psoriasis likely comes from a genetic predisposition, researchers believe that these genes affect how the immune system responds to environmental triggers. That combination of genes and triggers can be what cause a person to develop psoriasis. In psoriasis, immune cells that normally fight off bacteria and viruses can be triggered to attack healthy skin cells the same as they would attach to an infection. There are several triggers that can set off this immune reaction. STRESS can bring on or worsen psoriasis symptoms. Limiting stress and practicing relaxation techniques can help. INFECTION, such as strep throat, or INJURY to the skin, such as a scratch or sunburn, can trigger a psoriasis breakout, as they can both stimulate an immune system response. DRY, COLD winter weather can worsen psoriasis, so wear warm clothes and use a humidifier in your home during winter months. Some MEDICATIONS such as lithium, antimalarial drugs, beta blockers for high blood pressure and some arthritis medications can aggravate psoriasis. SMOKING and heavy ALCOHOL consumption may also trigger psoriasis symptoms, with recent research showing that current and former smokers are at a HIGHER risk for psoriasis. By limiting your exposure to psoriasis triggers, you may be able to have greater control of any flares. For more information on psoriasis, watch other videos in this series.More »
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