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Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014

skinschool01Skin Conditions Are Often Also Called: Cutaneous disorders or Dermatologic disorders.

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body?

It's true, in terms of both weight, between 6 and 9 pounds, and surface area, about 2 square yards. Your skin separates the inside of your body from the outside world by:

 

Protects you from  viruses, bacteria and other harmful substances


Helps you sense the outside world, such as hot or cold, wet or dry


Assists to regulate your body temperature


Conditions that irritate, clog or inflame your skin can cause symptoms such as swelling, burning, redness and itching. Allergies, irritants, your genetic makeup and certain diseases and immune system problems can cause hives, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. Many skin problems, such as acne, which effect both adolescents and adults, will also affect your appearance.




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Psoriasis

What is Psoriasis?

What is psoriasis? It is a disease of the skin and joints. According to National Institutes of Health, some 5.8 to 7.5 million Americans, 2-3% of the world’s population, are afflicted with this disease. 

It is not contagious, but it lasts a lifetime. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, creates raised red lesions or patches surrounded by silvery white dead skin scales, commonly referred to as scale.

Psoriasis – More Condition Symptoms

It itches, it burns. It can hurt. It may cause the skin to crack and bleed. Sufferers may be unable to sleep at night. Pain, especially when it affects the joints, can make work difficult.

Patches can occur anywhere on the body–arms, legs, knees, scalp or even genital areas! Knees and elbows are the most common. Use this link to find more information on scalp psoriasis

Psoriasis_Close_Up

Scalp Psoriasis Picture

Sometimes it is very mild, and one needs a doctor or skin specialist to tell if he or she has it. It can get so severe that lesions cover the whole body and hospitalization is required. It affects men and women equally. If tends to occur between ages 16-22; then another peak is ages 57-60. It is more prevalent in Caucasians (2.5 %) than African Americans (1.3%).

It is not particular who it affects. Many luminaries from Joseph Stalin to the famous American novelist John Updike, have been infected with it. So was the 21 year old, CariDee English, America's Next Top Model® 2006 and spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation, as well as Jerry Mathers, actor in Leave it to Beaver.

Psoriasis’ name comes from the Greek word, "psora," which means to itch. It may have been the skin condition called Tzaraat in the Bible, and later was thought to be a form of leprosy. In 1841 a Viennese dermatologist, Erdinanan von Hebra, gave psoriasis its name.

Guttate – Plaque – Pustular – Erythrodermic Psoriasis

There are several types of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, affecting some 80% of psoriasis sufferers. With Plaque psoriasis the areas affected are circular or oval in shape; they are red and covered with silvery scales.

Here’s how you can recognize the other types: Guttate– small red skin spots; Inverse–occurs in armpits, groin and skin folds; Pustular–white blisters surrounded by red skin; Erythrodermic– large areas of intense redness.

Pustular_Psoriasis_Close_Up

Pustular Psoriasis Picture

Various factors are thought to "trigger" psoriasis: reactions to some drugs, emotional stress, skin injury and certain infections. Psoriasis may occur in areas where there has been injury to the skin, including vaccinations, sunburns and scratches. Certain medications are associated with triggering and/or worsening psoriasis. The psychiatric drug, Lithium, has been associated with triggering psoriasis as has antimalarials, Inderal, a high blood medication; Quinidine, a heart medication, and the arthritis medication, Indomethacin. Allergies, diet, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, even dry weather, though not proven, are thought to trigger psoriasis.

Psoriasis Symptoms

Psoriasis_On_Arm.jpg
Psoriasis causes joint inflammation for about 10-15% of people; called psoriatic arthritis.

Having psoriasis can affect its victims emotionally. If it occurs on the legs, many adopt "out of sight, out of mind," wear slacks or jeans, and go on with life. More difficult if it occurs on the arms or face. Many say they suffer from a loss in self confidence and are concerned about the "stigma" attached to it. The National Psoriasis Foundation connects people with support groups. They learn quickly that they are not alone and much is being done to find a cure.

Click here for more information on Psoriasis Symptoms.

 

While it is not contagious, it appears to be hereditary. As yet there is no known cure, but there are ways to alleviate some of the pain or discomfort.

For information on Psoriasis Treatment click here. 

For information on Psoriasis Medicine click here.

Scalp Psoriasis

At least half the people who have psoriasis have scalp psoriasis. However, one can have scalp psoriasis without having psoriasis on any other part of the body.

It can be mild; it can be severe. Red lesions and scale appear, as skin cells multiply too fast. Mild means slight fine scaling over small areas; severe means thick crusts develop over the whole scalp, along with hair loss.

Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp Psoriasis Picture

Scalp Psoriasis Condition Symptoms

A sign that you have scalp psoriasis is the appearance of dead skin flakes appearing on your clothes. When you scratch, flakes tumble to your shoulders.


Scalp psoriasis is often difficult to differentiate from seborrheic dermatitis, though the scales of psoriasis appear drier and thicker and people with psoriasis usually have it on other parts of their body. A skin biopsy will make it easier to differentiate between the two disorders.

Scalp Psoriasis Treatments

Scalp_PsoriasisLike all forms of psoriasis, there is yet no cure. It can be controlled through various forms of treatment. Washing your hair daily is recommended, as well as exposure to direct sunlight. However, avoid sunburn.


Shampoos that contain tar are effective; but they can discolor light colored hair. Medicated shampoos also may help.


There are various topical agents your doctor may prescribe to rub into the scalp. Ointments and creams are heavy and hard to apply. They can be "greasy" and difficult to wash out, so lotions, solutions and gels are more generally used.


Topical corticosteroid gels work quickly, often within a week or two, however, with long-term use, the scalp can become resistant or impervious to steroids and other agents. If so, warm olive oil may help. Rub it onto the scalp; wrap your head in a towel for about 30 minutes. Then once again, wash the hair and rub in the lotion or gel.

 

Ultra Balm has also been used successfully in the relief of scalp psoriasis. It can easily be rubbed into the scalp, with no grease residue and is easy to wash out. You can read some of the many successes psoriasis sufferers have had with Ultra Balm, at the bottom of this page.


Luckily, scalp psoriasis is not contagious.


It’s all in your head. Psoriasis fosters many emotional issues, such as low self esteem and lack of confidence. People with psoriasis can feel isolated or even choose to be isolated, for they are embarrassed about their condition. They tend to feel there is something wrong with them, rather than just something wrong with the body. The very unpredictable nature of the disease can put one on an emotional roller coaster. Or is it that an emotional roller coaster or other stress can exasperate the condition– a "Catch 22 situation?"


The International Psoriasis Foundation tries to address these issues. Their site mentions online support groups and forums where people help one another.


While it is true that scalp psoriasis is literally and by location, "all in the head," it certainly is not an illusion. Scalp psoriasis and any psoriasis is something to confront and find the best means possible to alleviate it.


It is not contagious, but it lasts a lifetime. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, creates raised red lesions or patches surrounded by silvery white dead skin scales, commonly referred to as scale.

Know the Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis has a long history going back to the Old Testament, where it was included with skin conditions called "tzaraat." Later it was confused with leprosy. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that dermatologists began to differentiate psoriasis from other skin conditions. Even today, psoriasis can be confused with various forms of dermatitis. While it is good to know the symptoms, a diagnosis by a professional is recommended. There are no special blood tests for the affliction, but often a skin biopsy, or scraping, is needed to clearly determine the type and severity. A biopsy can pinpoint bleeding from skin below the lesions, a clear sign of psoriasis.

Psoriasis More Condition Symptoms

There are many types of psoriasis, each with slightly different symptoms:

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type, effecting 80-90% of those who have psoriasis. It manifests as patches of raised, inflamed skin, covered with silvery white scales, which give it its name, "plaque." from a Dutch word meaning "patch." The word psoriasis comes from the Greek word meaning "to have the itch."


Pustular psoriasis manifests as bumps filled with pus, surrounded by red skin. The pus is not infectious. The pustules are commonly on the hands and feet but may occur all over the body.


Flexural psoriasis manifests as smooth red lesions in skin folds, such as between the thigh and genitals, under the breasts or armpits, even under a beer belly or bulging abdomen. Because these areas receive friction and sweat, they are also vulnerable to fungus infections.


Guttate psoriasis manifests as a multitude of tiny, oval red spots over large areas of the body.


Nail psoriasis causes etched lines across the nail plate, pitting, loosening and crumbling of the nails. It causes thickening and discoloring of the skin under the nails.


Scalp psoriasis manifests as red lesions covered with scale. It can be mild, with slight, fine scaling or severe with thick scale over the entire scalp, causing hair loss. It can extend beyond the hairline, onto the forehead, ears and back of the neck. Sometimes the scalp is the only area that is affected by psoriasis, but most often people with scalp psoriasis have it on other parts of their body as well. Click here for more information on scalp psoriasis.


Psoriatic arthritis manifests as joint and connective tissue inflammation, most commonly in the fingers and toes. The fingers and toes swell like sausages. It can also effect knees, spine--any joint.


Erythrodermic psoriasis is psoriasis in an extreme state and can be fatal. Symptoms include widespread inflammation and exfoliation of the skin, severe itching, pain and swelling. Erythrodermic psoriasis can occur as a "rebound" from abrupt withdrawal of some drugs used for psoriasis treatment. Skin is vital to regulate the body’s temperature. It also serves as a barrier to toxic elements and bacteria. Heavy peeling or exfoliation removes this vital barrier and body temperature control, thus endangering life.


If psoriasis is spreading throughout your body, in addition to contacting a medical practitioner we suggest you try our over-the-counter Ultra Balm. We are always amazed by the number of calls we receive from psoriasis sufferers who have been unsuccessful with many prescription drugs and creams and who claim that Ultra Balm gives them the most relief of anything they’ve ever tried and is way less expensive as well.

You can read some of the many successes psoriasis sufferers have had with Ultra Balm, at the bottom of this page.

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