Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects the life cycle of your skin cells, causing symptoms such as skin redness, irritation, and flaky, silver-white patches called 'scales'. Other symptoms are usually related to areas of the body that are exposed to friction, injury, or irritation, such as the knees, elbows, feet, lower back and scalp. Psoriasis can even affect your finger and toenails, causing thickening, pitting and discoloration, and can affect your armpits and groin (inverse psoriasis) or your joints (psoriatic arthritis).
Caused by an increase in the rate of the life cycle of your cells, this often chronic condition can have periods of remission, and is not contagious. Psoriasis is thought to be genetic, possibly occurring as an overactive immune response.
Some factors that may trigger an attack or worsen your condition include:
- bacterial or viral infection, including strep throat
- dry air or dry skin
- too much or too little sunlight
- extremely cold weather
- HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
- certain medications such as lithium, beta-blockers and anti-malarial drugs
- cigarette smoking
- cancer chemotherapy
The goal of treatment is to interrupt the cycle that causes an increased production of skin cells. Your doctor will likely recommend topical treatments which include lotions, ointments, creams and shampoos, and may prescribe pills or injections that affect your body's immune system response. Phototherapy may also be suggested: this form of treatment uses natural or artificial light to slow down your skin cell turnover, but may cause some irritation and possibly lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Identifying your triggers is very helpful, as reducing stress, quitting smoking, and making diet modifications can have major effects on reducing the frequency of flare-ups and the severity of your condition. Acupuncture and TCM can help provide balance to your immune system and reduce symptoms, while facial aesthetics can help in mild but not active cases. Massage therapy can help reduce your stress.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent or manage your symptoms of psoriasis.
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