There are five types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic, however plaque psoriasis is the most common form. While most people may think it is a skin condition, it is actually an immune system deficiency. The immune system protects the body from infections and diseases. In patients with plaque psoriasis, certain immune cells are activated and produce too much of a protein called tumor necrosis factor (a.k.a TNF), it’s protein produced by the body in response to infections. This protein can cause skin cells to grow too quickly. In turn, the skin cells build up and form raised, red patches often with silvery scales, known as plaques. Plaques can be painful, itchy and in some cases can even bleed. They can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the elbows, knees, scalp and back. Although this is a disease of the immune system, there are certain factors that may trigger psoriasis such as:
• Injury to the skin- skin infections, inflammation or excessive scratching
• Over exposure to sunlight (sunburn)
• Streptococcal infections
• Emotional stress
• Smoking and alcohol
• Hormone changes
Here is a breakdown of the types of psoriasis:
Guttate Psoriasis: This form of psoriasis appears as small, red, individual spots on the skin. Guttate lesions usually appear on the trunk and limbs. These spots are not usually as thick as plaque lesions.
Inverse Psoriasis: Is found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in other skin folds around the genitals and the buttocks. This type of psoriasis appears as bright-red lesions that are smooth and shiny. Inverse psoriasis is subject to irritation from rubbing and sweating because of its location in skin folds and tender areas.
Pustular Psoriasis: is characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus (consisting of white blood cells) surrounded by red skin. There are three types of pustular psoriasis. It may be localized to certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, or covering most of the body. It begins with the reddening of the skin followed by formation of pustules and scaling.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis: is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that affects most of the body surface. It is characterized by periodic, widespread, fiery redness of the skin and the shedding of scales in sheets, rather than smaller flakes. The reddening and shedding of the skin are often accompanied by severe itching and pain, heart rate increase, and fluctuating body temperature. People experiencing the symptoms of erythrodermic psoriasis flare should see a doctor immediately.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms we recommend contacting your physician for best treatment recommendations. There are many oral drugs that can be prescribed by a physician to treat psoriasis. If prescriptions fail or you would like to steer clear of unwanted side effects, there are also more natural remedies like herbs, vitamins, sunlight, and ocean water. Some of the ingredients known to help are aloe vera, fish oil, Vitamin D, dead sea salts and cayenne.
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there is hope in topical and systemic medications. Topically, some effective ingredients are; salicylic acid, coal-tar ointments, and retinoids. Skinstore.com carries a variety of products that can help. Neostrata Therapeutics Psorent Topical is clinically-proven solution designed to help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis such as itching, scaling, flaking, redness and irritation. Avene Professional Akerat S Psoriasis Skin Cream is recommended for localized rough, thick and scaly areas on the scalp and body. This body product helps relieve and prevent the recurrence of itching, flaking and scaling. PCA SKIN Dry Skin Relief Bar is a mild facial bar suitable for all types of dry skin conditions particularly psoriasis and eczema. Tarsum Shampoo/Gel from Summers is a therapeutic scalp product. For a relaxing and calming treatment try one of the Ahava Mineral Bath Salts. No other natural substance contains a greater concentration of skin rejuvenating minerals than 100% pure Dead Sea salt crystals.