Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects about 7.5 million Americans of all ages, races, and genders. If you’re one of them, you may have experienced judgmental glances from others, and you may even avoid social outings when you have a psoriasis flare-up.
Most people simply don’t understand psoriasis, and they jump to the wrong conclusions about what those patches on your skin mean. Here to debunk those assumptions, our team of skin experts at Easton Dermatology Associates not only treats your psoriasis with a personalized plan, but we also give the facts about your condition so that you can help your friends, family, and coworkers understand the disease.
1. Myth: Psoriasis is contagious
Often, people who see your psoriasis patches jump to the conclusion that it’s contagious, so they treat you like a pariah. Others may assume that your skin condition has something to do with poor hygiene. However, neither of these assumptions is true.
Psoriasis cannot be passed from person-to-person. It is a disease related to a problem with your immune system, and it causes your skin cells to regenerate at an accelerated pace. Typically, the cycle of a skin cell takes about a month from generation to death when they normally slough off and make room for new cells. But when you have psoriasis, that process occurs in about a week. The cells build up on the surface before the old cells have a chance to die and fall off, so you end up with patches of rough, scaly skin.
It’s caused by genetic and environmental factors, and it can’t be transferred to others, even if they touch it. So feel free to hug, snuggle, and kiss your loved ones.
2. Myth: Psoriasis is just a skin condition — nothing to worry about
Although the most common forms of psoriasis manifest with red, scaly, itchy patches of skin, that isn’t the only place it appears, nor is your skin the only thing psoriasis affects.
There are several types of psoriasis, and it can show up in your mouth, on your nails, and in your bones. If you have psoriasis, you have a 30% chance of developing psoriatic arthritis as well, a progressive condition that damages your joints.
If you have psoriasis, you’re also at greater risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, and vision problems.
In addition to the physical challenges caused by psoriasis, there’s also a mental and emotional cost. Given the social stigma often associated with psoriasis, sufferers are at higher risk for depression and suicide.
3. Myth: Psoriasis doesn’t affect children
Psoriasis is nondiscriminatory. It strikes people regardless of skin color, socioeconomic status, and age — yes, even babies and kids can get it.
Because one of the main causes of psoriasis is genetic, children can inherit it from their folks. If one parent has psoriasis, the child has a 10% chance of getting it, too. If both parents have it, the odds leap to 50%. Every year in America, about 200,000 kids ages 10 and under are diagnosed with psoriasis.
4. Myth: Psoriasis isn’t curable, so there’s no hope
Although it’s true that there’s no cure for psoriasis, that doesn’t mean it isn’t treatable. At Easton Dermatology Associates, we help our patients manage their psoriasis symptoms and flare-ups, so they can live life comfortably and freely.
Topical creams and ointments, which may contain corticosteroids, retinoids, vitamin D, or even coal tar, can help relieve your itchy flare-ups and help reduce inflammation, and they’re good to keep on hand.
Systemic medications work from the inside out. Depending on the type of psoriasis you have and its severity, we may recommend either oral or injectable medications that decrease the production of skin cells.
Light therapy, including short stints of sun exposure, have been proven to slow down the regeneration of skin cells. We use excimer laser technology to deliver concentrated and controlled beams of ultraviolet light directly to your affected areas. This helps clear the skin of excess cells and may promote remission.
5. Myth: Only prescriptions and lasers will help my psoriasis
For moderate-to-severe psoriasis, professional medical care like the treatments we offer here at Easton Dermatology Associates is your best bet for keeping your symptoms under control. But if you have a minor case or an occasional flare-up, here are some ways you can tackle your symptoms on your own:
- Get some sun
- Take vitamin D and fish oil supplements
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on alcohol consumption
- Manage your stress level
- Sprinkle turmeric on your food (anti-inflammatory)
- Take baths with epsom salts
- Eat a healthy diet
- Keep your skin moisturized
- Avoid products with dyes and fragrances
And when your symptoms don’t respond to home remedies, come see us. We can help you get past the worst flare-ups and reduce them in the future. Call us to schedule a psoriasis consultation today at either our Easton or Salisbury locations.