By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 26 June 2020
Following the news that Kim Kardashian is suffering with Psoriasis, GP Dr Roger Henderson has shared his expert insights into the condition including key facts, triggers and treatment of the sore subject.
Psoriasis is caused by an overproduction of skin cells
Skin cells are normally made and replaced every three to four weeks, but in psoriasis this process only takes about three to seven days. The resulting build-up of skin cells is what creates the patches associated with psoriasis.
Psoriasis can affect all areas of the body, but is most commonly found on the elbows, knees and scalp. Symptoms include raised silvery patches of skin which have distinct red edges. It does not scar the skin but can sometimes cause a temporary increase or reduction in skin colour.
There are five different types of psoriasis
There are various types of psoriasis including: plaque, guttate (typically triggered by bacterial infections), inverse (smooth, red patches primarily in the armpits, genital area, or under the breasts), pustular (pus-filled blisters), and erythrodermic (a red, peeling rash on the entire body).
Psoriasis is not contagious
A common misconception is that psoriasis is contagious. Although symptoms show up on the skin, it is thought that psoriasis involves an immune response, possibly caused by both genetic and environmental triggers.
Anyone can be affected
Psoriasis can affect men and women equally and can start at any age. However, it most often develops in adults under 35 years old.
There are a range of common triggers
Well-known psoriasis triggers include smoking, alcohol, skin trauma, hormonal changes and obesity. Psoriasis can be exacerbated by cold weather and stress. To minimise the impact of stress, sufferers could try relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga, as well as regular exercise and creative activities such as writing or painting.
Psoriasis is often better in summer
Sun therapy is thought to be a natural form of treatment for psoriasis. This is because of the beneficial effect of the UVB rays found in sunshine, which are effective at treating psoriasis symptoms because they slow the rapid rate of skin growth and shedding.
Moisturising can help to keep symptoms under control
Unfortunately, there’s no known lasting cure for psoriasis but a good, consistent skincare routine, helped by a regular routine of emollient use, can help to keep your symptoms under control and reduce itching and scaling.
Use an emollient, such as Diomed Dry Skin (Boots, RRP 100g £6.49), generously and regularly, to soften hard skin and the plaques of psoriasis. Available over the counter, Diomed Dry Skin Emollient has a unique gel formulation that helps soften, moisturise and protect the skin by trapping moisture and restoring its natural protective barrier.
For further information and expert advice on managing eczema and problem dry skin conditions, visit www.diomed.co.uk.