What Is Psoriasis?

Learn all about the condition this Psoriasis Awareness Month…

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. This means your immune system cells mistakenly attack your own skin cells because they think they are a threat to your body. This then causes the skin cells to rapidly multiply, leading to red, flaky patches with silvery scales on your skin. These patches can be itchy, uncomfortable and painful, and appear most commonly on your elbows, knees, scalp and your trunk (your torso). The condition can start at any age but it usually appears in adults under 35. It can affect both men and women.

What Causes It?

In some cases, psoriasis can be hereditary. This means it can run in your family. Kim Kardashian has psoriasis and so does her mother, Kris Jenner. Kim has always been very open and honest about her psoriasis journey and regularly shares pictures of her flare-ups on Instagram to support fellow sufferers.

Pic credits: Instagram/kimkardashian

Is It Serious?

For some people, their psoriasis is mild and nothing more than a slight irritation – an annoyance that comes and goes from time to time. For others, it can be more serious and majorly affects their quality of life. It can affect your self-esteem and mental health, as well as your physical health.

Does It Go Away?

Psoriasis is a life-long condition and although sadly, it can’t be cured, it can be treated in lots of different ways. Psoriasis can disappear, sometimes for long periods at a time, but then ‘flare up’ again. These outbreaks can be triggered by things like stress, alcohol, smoking, cold weather and when the body’s immune system is under stress from infections, such as tonsillitis.

Is it Contagious?

No. Psoriasis is not contagious at all and you can’t catch it or spread it.

How Is It Treated?

Psoriasis can be treated with a topical ointment or cream which you apply directly to the skin. Light treatment can be used for more severe psoriasis – this involves exposing your skin to certain types of UV light to clear up the condition. For extreme cases where these treatments have no effect, a doctor may try tablets or injections of a stronger medication.

I Think I Might Have Psoriasis

If you’re worried you may have psoriasis, make an appointment with your GP. They will be able to rule out any other skin conditions or may refer you to a special skin doctor – a dermatologist.

Get More Help

For more information about psoriasis, or to get support and treatment advice, click here.


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