Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that leads to the growth of new skin cells. This leads to developing new skin cells in a matter of days rather than weeks. The build up of these new skin cells do not shed and instead pile up forming areas of red, scaling skin.
Researchers are still trying to understand what causes psoriasis. Currently, it is thought that the immune system sends a signal that tells the skin to make more cells too fast. Researchers have also found that psoriasis has a genetic component as it occurs more commonly in individuals that have another family member with psoriasis. It is not contagious. Psoriasis can occur any part of the body, but the most common areas affected are elbows, knees, scalp, and groin. Joints can also be affected and this is referred to as psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes things like a stressful event, strep throat, medications, injury/trauma to skin can trigger psoriasis.
Recently, psoriasis has been recognized as a systemic (whole body) disease relating to inflammation. Psoriasis patients have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol) and heart disease. Therefore, eating a healthy diet and balancing stress are just as important as sticking to your skin care regimen when managing your psoriasis.
There are many comprehensive treatment options for psoriasis. Meet with your integrative dermatologist to discuss your individualized treatment plan.