Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes the body to create new skin cells too quickly. As these cells accumulate on the surface of the skin, they become thick, dry, itchy patches called plaques. Many plaques become covered in a silvery-white coating called scale. Psoriasis can affect men and women of all ages and can appear anywhere on the body. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and reducing flares through lifestyle modifications, prescription medication and in-office procedures.

What Causes Psoriasis?

The definitive cause of psoriasis is not yet known, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors is likely at play. Some, though not all, patients who develop psoriasis have a family history of the condition. Others experience their first flare following a trigger such as infection or stress. It may be that a person inherits a genetic predisposition to psoriasis but does not show symptoms unless exposed to an environmental stimulus that activates the condition.

What Triggers Psoriasis?

A variety of external factors can cause psoriasis to flare. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Skin injury or infection
  • Sunburn
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Winter weather
  • Hormones
  • Certain medications

Flare-ups often occur following an earache, bronchitis, tonsillitis or a respiratory infection. If you experience a flare, speak to your doctor about a strep throat test, as a certain type of psoriasis often follows strep throat even if no symptoms are present.

What Foods Should I Avoid When I Have Psoriasis?

Patients frequently ask about the effect their diet has on their skin. While a nutritious diet is recommended for general skin health, there are no clinical trials which clearly demonstrate that psoriasis benefits from restricting a particular food or food group. However, there may be a link between psoriasis and alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger a flare, worsen the condition or interfere with the treatment of psoriasis.

What Skin Care Advice Can You Give Me for Managing Psoriasis?

At-home management plays a key role in treating psoriasis. Psoriatic skin is more vulnerable to damage than healthy skin and should be treated with care.

  • Use a gentle, soap-free cleanser
  • Regularly moisturise your skin
  • Avoid skin injury
  • Avoid picking at psoriasis or the scale, as this repetitive injury can worsen the condition

What Medical Treatment Is Available For Psoriasis?

A specialist dermatologist can recommend an appropriate medical treatment approach based on the type of psoriasis, the area(s) of the body involved and the severity of the condition. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Topical creams/lotions/gels/sprays
  • Phototherapy with UV light to reduce inflammation and slow the production of skin cells
  • Intralesional steroid injections administered into the affected skin if the area involved is small
  • Oral vitamin A capsules or immunosuppressive tablets
  • Injection treatment with biologic agents if the severity of your psoriasis qualifies you for Medicare-subsidised treatment

Explore Your Psoriasis Treatment Options

Although there is currently no known cure for psoriasis, it generally responds well to treatment and can be effectively managed. Schedule an appointment with our specialist dermatologists at Northside Dermatology by calling us on 03 8582 8688.

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