Psoriasis is a persistent skin disorder in which there are red, thickened areas with silvery scales, often on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. Some cases are mild, while others are severe and cover large areas of the body. These changes in the skin often itch. The itching can become intense, and scratching increases the risk of an infection. While there is no cure for psoriasis, it is treatable. The right combination of creams, medications, and home remedies can help to soothe the itching.
- Psoriasis affects an estimated 40% of adults and 50-80% of adolescents, and is thought to be hereditary.
- Psoriasis is not contagious, but sometimes it can be inherited, so there may be a family history.
- About 10 in every 100 people have genes that make them more likely to get psoriasis, but only two or three of them actually do.
- As many as 80% of people having flare-ups report a recent emotional trauma, such as a new job or the death of a loved one
- Typically, an individual has only one type of psoriasis at a time. Generally, one type of psoriasis will clear and another form of psoriasis will appear in response to a trigger.
What causes psoriasis?
While the cause of psoriasis is not specifically known, recent discoveries show an abnormality in the functioning of special white cells, called T-cells, which trigger inflammation and the immune response in the skin. This causes the skin to grow too rapidly. Dead skin cells subsequently build up too fast and then thick plaques form. In some cases, this process can be activated by streptococcal infections, such as strep throat, by certain medications or emotional stress or trauma.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition with many easy-to-spot signs. Most types of psoriasis flare-up in cycles. Often, a person would experience their symptoms a few weeks or months at a time. After these flare-ups, these symptoms would then subside for a period of time. Indicators of psoriasis include the following symptoms:
- Patches of Red and Irritated Skin – These patches have loose silvery scales covering them. If left untreated, they can either crack or bleed. It is this scaly type of rash that is a characteristic of psoriasis.
- Discoloured Fingernails or Toenails – Nails can crumble and detach from the nail bed.
- Flaky Scalp – People tend to mistake a psoriatic scalp with a simple case of dandruff. Because of this, they tend to be unable to stop their scalp from flaking off with medicated shampoos. The difference between psoriasis and dandruff is psoriasis is yellowish in colour and consists of larger flakes.
- Painful or Swollen Joints– Among the several different types of psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis. This involves problems with joints. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 10%-30% of psoriatic patients experience arthritic symptoms.
Typically, an individual has only one type of psoriasis at a time. Generally, one type of psoriasis will clear and another form of psoriasis will appear in response to a trigger.
What are the types of psoriasis?
There are different types of psoriasis which present a variety of distinct characteristics and symptoms. If you struggle with psoriasis, it is important to pinpoint which specific type you have in order to learn how to manage and treat it. To help you understand this chronic condition and its subtypes, here is a comprehensive list illustrating their key differences:
- Plaque Psoriasis. This form of psoriasis is the most common type. Plaque psoriasis causes dry and red skin lesions that also include a covering of silvery scales. These lesions are painful and itchy. They can develop in any area of the body. Among the most uncomfortable areas where these plaques can grow are the genitals and inside the mouth.
- Nail Psoriasis. Nail psoriasis involves nail pitting and discolouration. Additionally, the nails are also brittle and grow abnormally. They might also be loose to a point that it detaches from the nail bed.
- Guttate Psoriasis. This type of psoriasis is common in children, teenagers, and young adults. It usually develops after a bacterial infection such as strep throat. The lesions involved in this type of psoriasis are smaller and have finer scales. They often cover the trunk, arms, legs, and scalp.
- Inverse Psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis usually occurs on the skin of the armpit, groin, and under the breasts. The lesions are smooth and bright red. Because of the areas this condition affects, the lesions tend to worsen due to sweat and friction. Much like Guttate Psoriasis, Inverse Psoriasis occurs due to an infection. However, Inverse Psoriasis develops following a fungal infection.
- Pustular Psoriasis. Primarily seen in adults, 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. Pustular psoriasis may be localized to certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, or may cover most of the body. It begins with the reddening of the skin followed by the formation of pustules and scaling. Pustular psoriasis may be triggered by internal medications, irritating topical agents, overexposure to UV light, pregnancy, systemic steroids, infections, stress and sudden withdrawal of systemic medications or potent topical steroids.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis. Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that affects most of the body surface. It may occur in association with von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis. 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. Known triggers of erythrodermic psoriasis include the abrupt withdrawal of a systemic psoriasis treatment including cortisone; allergic reaction to a drug resulting in the Koebner response; severe sunburns; infection; and medications such as lithium, anti-malarial drugs; and strong coal tar products.
- Psoriatic Arthritis. A person with psoriatic arthritis doesn’t just struggle with patches of red and inflamed skin. They also have to manage swollen and painful joints. These joint problems are symptoms typical of arthritis. The symptoms indicating Psoriatic Arthritis can range from very mild to severe and can manifest in any joint. This chronic condition is not as severe as other forms of arthritis but it can lead to stiffness and deformity.
Can psoriasis be cured?
There’s no cure that permanently cures psoriasis, however, researchers are continually testing new treatments to treat it, or prevent it from getting worse.
What can I do – now and in the future?
The goal is to reduce the inflammation and to control the scale build-up as well as the shedding of the skin. Traditionally prescription medications include topical creams such as steroids, anthralin, vitamin D, retinoids and coal tar. The goal of these medications is to have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as to help soften and break up the excess scale but they can have side effects in the future and need to be discussed with your doctor. Treatment depends on the type of psoriasis, it’s location, and how widespread it is.
Fortunately, there are some natural alternatives available that can help soothe the skin and reduce redness. A variety of treatments are available for psoriasis, and finding the right option requires guidance from a medical professional.
Five tips to soothe psoriasis
Though the condition cannot be cured, if you have mild to moderate psoriasis, you may get some relief from skin creams. They can reduce inflammation, itching, and cut the rate of skin cell growth and can help to minimise bumps, itching, and irritation on the skin.
- Sunshine. Sunlight and ultraviolet light slow the rapid growth of the skin cells. Exposure to sunlight may be helpful to those with psoriasis, but can cause side effects such as skin cancer, skin wrinkling and eye damage. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends starting with 5 to 10 minutes of sun exposure once a day at midday.
- Probiotics. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that can be found in yoghurt, fermented foods, and supplements. Experts agree that the right balance of bacteria in the body helps the immune system. Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, probiotics may be helpful in managing psoriasis symptoms. A study in the journal Gut Microbes suggests that a certain type of probiotic called Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 may help regulate certain inflammatory responses in the body that contribute to psoriasis symptoms.
- Apple cider vinegar. Can be particularly helpful to soothe the itching and burning associated with scalp psoriasis. It contains natural germ-killing properties and can be soothing for the scalp. It should not be applied to broken or cracked skin. For a gentler treatment, the vinegar can be diluted with equal parts water. If it burns when applied, stop using it.
- Colloidal Oats & Epsom salts baths. Baths can be relaxing, but baths or showers that are too long or too hot can strip the skin of its oils, and this can make psoriasis worse. For some people, a warm bath containing colloidal oatmeal or Epsom salts is soothing and relieves symptoms. After bathing, a Body Lotion should be applied while skin is still damp, to help prevent moisture loss.
- Manuka Oil. Manuka Biotic ® natural skincare range is infused with the worlds only certified organic Manuka oil as an active ingredient. While all-natural, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal manuka oil does not relieve psoriasis itself, it can help keep the skin and scalp free from an infection that results from frequent scratching and soothes inflammation. A mixture of 1 to 3 drops of Manuka essential oil, mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil can be applied directly to troublesome areas of the skin and scalp where the scales are particularly itchy.
Our Manuka Biotic Recommendations
Manuka Biotic® BodyWash: Containing Manuka Oil which is Manuka oil is known to boost the skin’s healing capabilities, and it’s also used in the medical community to combatting some of the world’s most antibiotic-resistant infections – that’s because of its ability to draw moisture out of the bacteria in an affected area, preventing and fighting off inflammation and infection and help soothe any inflammation of the skin or infected skin.
Thick in texture and rich in emollients, the Manuka Biotic® Body Lotion moisturises even the driest of skin, creates an effective barrier, reduces inflammation, and fights bacteria. Organic New Zealand Manuka Oil, known for its amazing healing powers, is combined with organic, tree, nut-free oils to create this gentle, nourishing manuka oil product that will not irritate the skin. Our Manuka Biotic® Body Lotion is a surprisingly soft and creamy balm, that’s excellent for healing open wounds and soothing irritated Psoriasis skin. For drier areas of skin, the Manuka Biotic® Hand Cream is a rich nourishing cream that provides soothing relief.
Manuka Biotic® Shampoo and Conditioner is suitable for the treatment of psoriasis on the scalp and neck. A tip is to leave the shampoo on the scalp for up to 5 mins to allow the Manuka Oil to actively work to reduce the bacteria, itchiness and restore the natural moisture to the scalp. Psoriasis patches can creep past your hairline to your forehead, the back of your neck, or the skin near your hairline and Manuka Biotic® Body Lotion will soothe the skin inflammation and reduce bacteria on your itchy scalp.
Read Our Manuka Biotic Customer Experiences
Hear directly from a few of our lovely customers sharing their experiences of using our products on their Psoriasis.
Why Manuka Biotic®?
- We use the worlds only certified organic Manuka oil.
- All our products contain potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe and repair the skin.
- Our products are 100% New Zealand made.
- Our products are made using natural ingredients and are FREE from:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & SLES
- PEGs, PABA, EDTA
- Added fragrances & colouring
- Mineral Oils
- Propylene Glycol
- Animal testing or animal derivatives
Manuka Biotic® is natural skincare for the whole family, giving you access to the potent power of Manuka Oil.
Please read the full ingredient list for any known irritants or allergies. We advise trying new products on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 hours to make sure there is no reaction. Any natural product on the market could contain an ingredient that won’t agree with your skin.
For further information talk to your doctor.