Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by a change of pattern in skin cell production and removal. This leads to a build-up of skin cells on the body surface, which results in red, flaky patches of skin covered with silvery scales. Psoriasis can present at any time in life but is most common under the age of 35. It affects men and women equally. The severity of the condition varies and ranges from having no symptoms or mild symptoms to periods where symptoms are severe. The areas of the body most commonly affected include knee and elbow joints, lower back and scalp.
The causes of psoriasis are unknown, but genetic (family-link) and environmental factors or triggers play a part. Knowing your triggers may help to avoid a flare-up.
Common Psoriasis Triggers
- Emotional stress
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Injury or trauma to the skin, such as sunburn, cut/scrapes or insect bites
- Certain medications - including lithium, anti-inflammatory medications, some medications used to treat blood pressure and heart failure, some antimalarial medicines. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you feel that a medicine you are taking is a trigger.
- Other immune system disorders
- Hormonal changes, particularly for women, for example during puberty and the menopause or after childbirth.
- Bacterial throat infection - some evidence suggests that infections that involve streptococcal bacteria (Strep Throat) may cause a type of plaque psoriasis, but this will usually go away on its own.
Living with Psoriasis
There is no cure for psoriasis, however, there are many treatments that can improve symptoms and the appearance of skin patches.
Dovonex Psoriasis Ointment- an effective treatment for use by adults with mild to moderate plaque psoriasis which has previously been diagnosed by a doctor. Speak to your pharmacist to see if this treatment is suitable for you.
Emollients- these are moisturising treatments that act to reduce the loss of water from the skin. They can be used for dry and scaly skin conditions from birth onwards and are to be applied regularly and liberally to the skin. In Hickey’s Pharmacy we specifically recommend the La Roche Posay Iso Urea range.
Milk Thistle- studies have shown that the detoxifying, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties associated with Milk Thistle can help to reduce flare ups in psoriasis.
Scalp treatments- for scalp psoriasis, we have a wide range of products including Cocois Ointments, Capasal Shampoo and Eucerin Urea scalp treatment, all of which can help to reduce scaling of the skin and scalp.
Speak to our Healthcare Advisors or pharmacists in store to find the best treatment for you.