Psoriasis is a condition that most people have probably heard of, yet few people really know what it is or how it impacts one’s life. Let’s start this off by discussing what psoriasis is: Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune condition that has been estimated to impact around 7.4 million Americans. It causes a rapid build-up of skin cells, which causes scale-like build-up to occur along the skins’ surface.
Normally, skin cells normally form deep under the skin and slowly rise to the surface and eventually fall off. The full life cycle of a skin cell is normally one full month. But for those with
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is well known for the scales that it produces. While people may not be aware of the cause of this, they have often seen or know someone with the condition. The scales caused by psoriasis are typically a white/silver color, and often develop in thick red patches. For the most
My Psoriasis diagnosis
About a year ago I was in the midst of a giant lupus flare when my face broke out in these weird, red scaly patches. It was especially bad over my eyes and behind my ears. I assumed it was a symptom of lupus, as I do with most of my unexplainable health issues. But after consulting my rheumatologist, she said it was definitely not a lupus or a discoid rash. I didn’t give it much thought until it happened again a few months later, in all the same spots. At that time, I had started a new skin care regimen, so I assumed my skin was reacting to one of these products.
But since then it’s happened several more times, and it seems to get a little worse each time. My primary care physician has given me some creams to apply as well as oral steroids, which seem to help for a while, though they don’t help as much as I would like. She has also referred me to a dermatologist but sadly I’ve never been able to get in to see her during one of the flare ups. I will see the dermatologist this week and will be taking all my pictures and hoping for an answer.
The cycles and triggers of Psoriasis
Like most autoimmune conditions, those who have psoriasis will go through periods or cycles where the condition is more active, and periods where it is pretty much inactive. Every cycle or flare will be different, some may last only a couple days while others may last weeks. Some might have severe symptoms for a couple weeks and have it go away, only for it to come back in a few short days. While others may go months or more and never have a breakout.
There are some who suffer from this condition who have been able to figure out their triggers. Figuring out your psoriasis triggers can lead to better understanding and treatment of the condition. Sadly, I am not one of these people. However, throughout the history of the research regarding this condition, researchers and physicians have been able to uncover the most common triggers of psoriasis. These
Treatment options for Psoriasis
There are several different kinds of treatment options available; from different types of creams, (steroid creams, salicylic acid, Calcitriol Calcipotriene containing topical ointments, coal-tar ointments & shampoos and retinoids) to different types of phototherapy ( PUVA (the drug psoralen combined with ultraviolet A, or UVA, light), Ultraviolet B light (UVB) light and narrow-band UVB therapy). The therapy chosen will be based on what you and your doctor feel is best for you and your situation.
What helped me most during my past treatment was just talking about this condition and learning that it is way more common than I previously knew. I also found out I’m not alone in this fight. That being said, despite all my new knowledge, when I flare up I pretty much will not leave the house. I’ve never been someone that has to have makeup on in order to leave the house or anything, but when those scales pop up all over my face it makes me very self-conscious. I always feel like people are staring even if they aren’t really. I feel like, at 34, I am experiencing skin issues similar to what most people deal with in their teens. I was someone that was always lucky and never had bad skin, until recently.
The biggest thing I want to get across to each of you reading this is that you are not alone. No matter how isolated you feel from any condition, whether it be psoriasis or any other chronic condition, you are NOT alone. There are others just like you all over the world who feel and struggle just like you. There are a ton of great resources out there that can help you with your fight. There are heaps of great psoriasis resources, ranging from Facebook support groups to pages from groups like the National Psoriasis Foundation where you can converse with others who are in similar situations. It’s very helpful to get out there and find a group that fits you and your situation.
Researching Psoriasis yourself
I want to remind you to do your own research on your health, the treatments available, and physicians in your area. Until I started doing my research about psoriasis I never knew that it was so common. Even with my background in healthcare, it was not something I had really heard much about. By doing my own research I was able to learn so much about the condition and what the different treatment options are. I also encourage you to take pictures and document the different stages of your condition. This is an important piece of advice for everyone with a chronic condition. By taking pictures and documenting your symptoms, you can not only show these to your doctor and give them a better idea of what’s going on, but you may also be able to identify some triggers as well.
Amber writes at theworldseesnormal.com. She is a Registered Nurse by