Physical And Mental Pain
The itching caused by psoriasis is different than that of other inflammatory skin conditions it happens more often, and the feeling of the itch can be more severe, with a burning quality.
Apart from the pain it gives, psoriasis ruins the physical appearance of my entire body. Each day, I look at myself in the mirror. I try not to feel awful at how my skin looks. Honestly, I have much more to worry about. Or maybe this is just how I avoid my negative feelings.
I no longer take any treatments for my psoriasis. There are too many side effects for me to handle. My nails have lost color, my skin looks like a torn, barren land and the pain is unbearable. There is a lot to say about what psoriasis feels like.
How Do You Get A Psoriasis Diagnosis
Your physician will do a physical exam if they think you have psoriasis. They will probably also ask if you have any symptoms like itchy skin in addition to getting your medical history so they can learn if you have blood relatives with the condition or if youve experienced possible psoriasis triggers.
Your doctor may also remove a very small piece of your skin that can be analyzed to confirm that you have psoriasis, according to the AAD3. A biopsy can also help your doctor rule out other skin disorders and diagnose your specific form of psoriasis, according to the Mayo Clinic1.
For people of color, getting diagnosed with psoriasis can be really frustrating. Often, people with dark skin are misdiagnosed with other skin conditions because theres not enough medical awareness about how psoriasis looks on skin of color.
The length of time youve have psoriasis, any treatments you are using to help your symptoms, and scratching your flare can change the way psoriasis looks, according to Dr. Wassef. So, your physician might do a biopsy just to confirm that you do have psoriasis if they cant tell visually.
How Long Does It Take For Plaque Psoriasis To Heal
Although research is promising, doctors cannot yet cure psoriasis. Once a person has had a psoriasis flare, they are likely to have another one.
Patches of psoriasis may clear up after a few months, or they may stay the same, get bigger, or spread across the body. In some people, psoriasis will disappear and not return for years.
Treatment can help reduce the frequency of flares and the severity of symptoms.
People who find that environmental factors trigger their flares can often reduce flare frequency by controlling these triggers, which may include stress or allergies.
Psoriasis has a characteristic appearance that most doctors quickly recognize.
If a doctor suspects psoriasis but is unsure, they may perform a skin biopsy to rule out other causes. The biopsy will involve taking a sample of affected skin and examining it under a microscope.
Treatment depends on the severity of psoriasis. Some people can control their symptoms by avoiding triggers and using over-the-counter corticosteroid creams.
People with moderate or severe psoriasis may need medication to control their symptoms. A wide range of medications is available, including:
Other treatment strategies include:
other types of psoriasis include:
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What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For My Psoriasis
A dermatologist is an expert in skin, so thats a good place to start. Even better, there are derms who specialize in the treatment of this particular skin condition, which can boost your chances of a better outcome. The National Psoriasis Foundation offers a list of specialists that you can search by city.
What About Physical Contact
Before doctors knew what caused psoriasis, they often confused it with leprosy — and people who had it were considered contagious. But now we know that you cannot catch the condition by brushing up against someone who has it. You also can’t get it from kissing, having sex, or swimming in the same water.
People get psoriasis because of their genes, not because of bad hygiene, their diet or lifestyle, or any other habits. They didnât get it from someone else, and they cannot infect others.
Even so, thereâs a lot of stigma around the condition, which can be hard for people who have it. They might feel uncomfortable when people stare at their lesions or avoid touching them, and they may try to hide their outbreaks under long clothing.
If you have psoriasis, you can help put an end to confusion and misunderstandings about the disease by talking openly with friends, family, and co-workers. And if you know people who have it, make sure they know that their condition doesn’t affect your opinion of them or make you not want to be around them.
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Why Do Symptoms Come And Go
There are many reasons why your psoriasis symptoms may come and go or get worse at certain times. Triggers can include certain infections, skin trauma or injury, stress, alcohol, smoking, cold or dry weather, starting some medications, stopping medication, or even the natural course of the disease. Triggers can differ from person to person. Its a good idea to keep track of your symptoms and triggers to help you manage them. Talk to your doctor about how best to keep track of your symptoms.
Who Gets Psoriasis That Affect The Joints
Years after developing psoriasis on their skin, some people get a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis, which affects the joints. Its also possible to develop psoriatic arthritis before getting psoriasis on your skin.
Its not possible to predict who will get psoriatic arthritis. For this reason, its important for people who have psoriasis to pay attention to their joints.
Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis can worsen and damage joints. This damage is irreversible and can cause a lifelong disability. Treatment can prevent psoriatic arthritis from worsening.
Early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis include:
A swollen and tender joint, especially within a finger or toe
Swelling on the back of your leg, just above your heel
Stiffness in the morning that fades during the day
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How To Manage Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic condition. But you can manage it by working with your healthcare provider to create a long-term treatment plan and self-care routine.
Symptoms may come and go. Some factors can affect how often symptoms occur, how severe they are, and how long they last. These factors include:
- Drinking alcohol
Follow these steps to help manage your symptoms:
When Friends Act Like It Is Contagious
Unfortunately, many people in the plaque psoriasis community have faced situations where other people assume this skin condition is contagious. Even worse, several of you shared that you have friends and acquaintances who have been told that plaque psoriasis is not contagious but they still act as if it is. This type of reaction can be especially hurtful.
I was asked if it was contagious.
My husbands friends refused to touch my hands because I MIGHT be contagious. This is super hurtful as we had explained that it was not.
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How Psoriasis Is Diagnosed
A GP can often diagnose psoriasis based on the appearance of your skin.
In rare cases, a small sample of skin called a biopsy will be sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope.
You may be referred to a specialist in diagnosing and treating skin conditions if your doctor is uncertain about your diagnosis, or if your condition is severe.
If your doctor suspects you have psoriatic arthritis, which is sometimes a complication of psoriasis, you may be referred to a doctor who specialises in arthritis .
You may have blood tests to rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and X-rays of the affected joints may be taken.
Who Gets Nail Psoriasis
After developing a type of psoriasis on your skin, its common for psoriasis to affect the nails. Nail psoriasis becomes more common with age. Its also more common if youve had psoriasis on your skin for some time or have severe psoriasis.
Signs of nail psoriasis include tiny dents in your nails , discoloration under one or more nails, and a nail lifting away from the nail bed so that its no longer completely attached. Some people have a buildup of skin under one or more of their nails, which can also cause a nail to lift up.
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Are There Complications Of Psoriasis
In some people, psoriasis causes more than itchiness and red skin. It can lead to swollen joints and arthritis. If you have psoriasis, you may be at higher risk of:
- Use medicated shampoo for scales on your scalp.
Other steps you should take to stay as healthy as possible:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about lowering your risk for related conditions, such as heart disease, depression and diabetes.
- Lower your stress with meditation, exercise or seeing a mental health professional.
Educating Others About Your Condition
People with psoriasis learn very early on that their disease is not contagious. In other words, it cannot be spread from person to person in the way some skin conditions can. However, people who dont know much about psoriasis may worry that they can “catch” it from you. As frustrating as this may be, you can usually set them right by offering education on the causes and nature of psoriasis and other psoriatic diseases.
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Isnt There A Prescription That Cures It
Oh sure, theres a miraculous cure that you just havent bothered to try! Sigh. We do not currently have a cure for psoriasis, Weatherall confirms. There are, however, treatments that can be very effective when you and your doctor find the right combination, which may include topicals, , oral medications, and systemic biologic treatments, as well as integrative medicine . In recent years the biologic therapies have proved to be very effective for moderate to severe psoriasis patients and have been a real breakthrough in treatment, she adds. Many people can reach long-lasting remission and stay clear on the therapies we do currently have and have an excellent quality of life while living with this disease.
Visit the National Psoriasis Foundation atpsoriasis.orgfor more information on managing your psoriasis.
What Are My Psoriasis Treatment Options
There are plenty of psoriasis treatments to help with your specific situation. Treatment recommendations for psoriasis depend on the severity, location of skin lesions, and amount of body surface area involved, Dr. Agbai says. Keep in mind that your treatment options may change over time based on new research and newly available therapies. Make sure you have ongoing conversations with your doctor about which treatment options may be best for you.
Topical treatments include:
- Corticosteroids commonly treat mild to moderate psoriasis. You can find them as ointments, creams, lotions, gels, foams, sprays, and shampoos.
- Vitamin D analogues can help your skin cells grow more slowly.
- Retinoids may also be used to help your skin cells grow more slowly and to treat nail psoriasis.
- Calcineurin inhibitors help reduce inflammation and are recommended for more sensitive areas where steroids or retinoids can be irritating.
- Salicylic acid shampoos and scalp treatments can target help with scalp psoriasis.
- Coal tar can help relieve your symptoms but can be messy to use.
- Goeckerman therapy uses both coal tar and light therapies to help with symptoms.
- Anthralin can help your skin cells grow more slowly and reduce your symptoms.
Physicians may recommend light therapies, ranging from natural sunlight to different types of artificial light, to treat moderate or severe psoriasis. These include:
Oral or injectable medications are used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis:
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What Can Trigger Psoriasis
Plenty of everyday things can act as a trigger, causing psoriasis to appear for the first time. Common psoriasis triggers include:
Skin injury, such as a cut or bad sunburn
Infection, such as strep throat
Some medications, including lithium, prednisone, and hydroxychloroquine
Weather, especially cold, dry weather
These triggers can also cause psoriasis flare-ups. Different people have different triggers. For example, periods of intense stress may trigger your psoriasis but cold weather may not.
Thats why its so important for people who have psoriasis to know what triggers their psoriasis. Avoiding triggers can reduce psoriasis flares.
Youll find common triggers and what you can do to avoid them at: Are triggers causing your psoriasis flare-ups?
If you think you have psoriasis, its important to find out. Treatment can help relieve your discomfort and lead to clearer skin. You can find out how board-certified dermatologists diagnose and treat psoriasis at: Psoriasis: Treatment.
Related AAD resources
1 Gottlieb A, Korman NJ, et al. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008 58:851-64.2 Alexis AF, Blackcloud P. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 7:16-24.
References Alexis AF, Blackcloud P. Psoriasis in skin of color: epidemiology, genetics, clinical presentation, and treatment nuances. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 7:16-24.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
What Are The Symptoms Of Guttate Psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis causes tiny bumps called papules. Guttate means resembling drops. So, the papules are drop-like bumps or raised spots. Guttate psoriasis does not occur in stagesthe papules usually appear suddenly on the arms, legs or torso. Less frequently, the bumps affect the face, scalp and ears. The bumps may itch and have the following appearance:
Raised and slightly thickened
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Myth #: Itching Your Skin Will Cause Psoriasis To Spread
Psoriasis isnt a skin infection and cant be spread through touching or itching. However, a person can develop the Koebner phenomenon. This is the appearance of new skin lesions on areas of trauma, such as scratches or cuts. It is also known as the isomorphic response.Some experts suggest that 25% of people with psoriasis may experience the Koebner phenomenon.Sometimes, it is not possible for a person to avoid a cut or scrape. However, people can take some measures to reduce the potential of skin irritations. These include avoiding:
- Getting sunburned: Use sunscreen, stay in the shade, or wear sun protective clothes that cover the body.
- Contact with irritants: Products ranging from beauty treatments to household chemicals can irritate the skin.
- Scratching: Use topical treatments during a psoriasis flare to reduce itching.
- Injuries and bites: Wear clothes that cover the body when gardening, camping, and so on.
- Rubbing the skin: When bathing or showering, use products that a doctor recommends. Use lukewarm water, wash gently with the palms of the hands, and pat the skin dry after bathing. Avoid abrasive substances and sponges and try not to rub the skin.
- Oral medications
- Medications by injection or through an intravenous infusion
- A doctor who specializes in dermatology, or treating skin disorders, can assess the severity of psoriasis and recommend the best treatment.
What Is Cdc Doing About Psoriasis
In 2010, CDC worked with experts in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and public health to develop a public health perspective that considers how these conditions affect the entire population. The resulting report is Developing and Addressing the Public Health Agenda for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis pdf icon. You can read a short article about the agendaexternal icon in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
CDCs National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , an intermittent source of national psoriasis data, has included questions about psoriasis as late as the 2013-2014 cycle. A recent analysis of NHANES data estimates that 7.4 million adults had psoriasis in 2013external icon.
- Psoriasis causes patches of thick red skin and silvery scales. Patches are typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of feet, but can affect other places . The most common type of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis.
- Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that eventually occurs in 10% to 20% of people with psoriasis. It is different from more common types of arthritis and is thought to be related to the underlying problem of psoriasis.
- Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are sometimes considered together as psoriatic disease.
Who is at risk for psoriasis?
Anyone can get psoriasis. It occurs mostly in adults, but children can also get it. Men and women seem to have equal risk.
Can I get psoriasis from someone who has it?
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Key Points About Psoriasis
- Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. It causes inflamed, red, raised areas of skin that often develop dry, silvery scales called plaques.
- Psoriasis is not contagious. It is an autoimmune skin disease.
- Psoriasis is a long-term disease. You will have flare-ups that come and go over time.
- There is no cure, but treatments can help relieve symptoms. Treatment can include creams, light therapy , and oral or injected medicine.
- Psoriasis is a chronic condition. But you can manage it by working with your healthcare provider to create a long-term treatment plan and self-care routine that includes attention to both physical and emotional needs.
Having Conversations About Psoriasis
It is ultimately up to you whether you would like to explain your psoriasis to others. Some people with psoriasis find that misconceptions from strangers present opportunities to spread awareness: You could use these incidents as opportunities to educate those ignorant of psoriasis, suggested one member. Explain that it is not at all contagious and that it is simply areas of rapid reproduction of skin cells. We all naturally shed and reproduce skin daily. These are just overactive areas.
That said, not everyone with psoriasis feels like educating others who are unaware of the condition. As one member put it simply, I, too, am way too tired to keep explaining that my psoriasis is not contagious.
Ultimately, it is your choice not your responsibility to talk about your psoriasis with others.
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