Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis. This chronic autoimmune skin condition results from the rapid buildup of skin cells, causing redness and scaling on the skin surface. The scales start with a white, silverish hue and develop into thick, red patches which may crack and bleed.
The normal life cycle of a skin cell is thirty days. For patients with psoriasis, however, the production of skin cells occurs in a few days with no time for the cells to mature and fall off, causing an overproduction and build up at the skin’s surface. This process typically manifests over the knees and elbows but can appear anywhere on the body.
Although the exact cause of psoriasis is not known, there are certain events which can trigger an episode. They change from patient to patient and may change over time for each person dealing with the condition. The most common triggers include:
Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger psoriasis outbreaks. When patients drink alcohol in large amounts, the flare-ups become more frequent. Reducing alcohol intake or quitting altogether is a great lifestyle choice to limit psoriasis occurrences.
Patients dealing with high stress can experience flare-ups more frequently. In these cases, effective stress management techniques can help prevent psoriasis episodes.
Certain drugs can trigger psoriasis. These drugs include high blood pressure medications, antimalarial medications, and lithium. You should consult with your primary care physician to manage your prescribed medications if they are causing psoriasis outbreaks.
Any scrape, cut, or injury which breaks the skin may cause a psoriasis flare-up. These include sunburns scratching, and picking at flaky areas of the skin.
Patients who are sick or battling an infection like strep throat have an immune system that is working overtime. Dealing with an illness may trigger an outbreak because psoriasis is a condition that is driven by an overactive immune system.
Patients seeking relief from psoriasis should consult with a board-certified dermatologist. Although there is presently no cure for the condition, there are multiple treatments which can increase comfort and keep the outbreaks to a minimum. The optimal treatment for psoriasis patients will depend on the seriousness of their condition and the location of their outbreaks.
Treatments include topical medications for mild cases and systemic medication for advanced issues. A skilled and experienced dermatologist is your resource for the best treatments and effective relief from psoriasis.
Why Dr. Dabade?
Dr. Dabade is a board-certified dermatologist whose training and experience include time at prestigious institutions including the Mayo Clinic, Northwestern Medical Group, and Tuft’s University. He has completed extensive research and published widely on the subject of psoriasis, and can share this wisdom in a compassionate, easy to understand manner with those in his care. Our dermatologist and team are determined to optimal results for their patients.