Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that appears on the skin. It appears when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. There are several types of psoriasis. The most prevalent form, plaque psoriasis, is seen as red and white hues of scaly, silvery patches that appear on the epidermis – the top layer of the skin.
Plaque psoriasis can afflict many areas of the skin including the face, knees, elbows, hands and feet. This disorder is a chronic recurring condition that varies in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage.
The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood but it is believed to have a genetic component. Various environmental factors as well as withdrawal from certain medications appear to be connected to this disorder. Psoriasis can affect men, women and children of any age, and this disorder has been shown to affect health-related quality of life to an extent similar to the effects of other chronic diseases such as depression, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
At the present time, there is no cure for psoriasis, and scientists are puzzled by the way that this disease can be recurrent (go away then come back again). On the plus side, there is enough evidence to show that exposure to UV light and the use of good topical moisturizers can help relieve many of the symptoms of psoriasis. Foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids (fish oil, flaxseed oil, borage oil, etc.) also appear to offer perceivable benefits for many individuals.
Several prescription medications are available to treat the symptoms of psoriasis but these are usually administered by a doctor or dermatologist. And, like many prescription drugs, their side-effects can be troublesome. OTC (Over-The-Counter) topical treatments are usually based on Coal Tar or Salicylic Acid. These may offer some help but their obnoxious odor and potential for irritation makes their use quite limited.