LIVING WITH PSORIASIS
Along with eczema, psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions around. And indeed it is one of the most distressing for sufferers. But, other than it being hard to pronounce and even harder to spell, what do we know about it?
- First, some stats – psoriasis affects up to 3% of people in the UK, with an even split between men and women. Unlike eczema, which tends to start in childhood, psoriasis tends to start in early adulthood.
- The condition is identified by red, crusty skin patches covered in silvery scales, which are most commonly found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. However, it’s the severity that varies – many sufferers only experience small patches, while for others, it can be much more widespread.
- Psoriasis is all down to an increased production of skin cells. In most people, skin cells are made and replaced every three to four weeks. However, in psoriasis sufferers the process happens every few days, resulting in a build-up of skin cells. This is believed to be due to problems in the immune system.
- Psoriasis worsens when something triggers it – stress, illness, the weather and using certain medication can all be factors. Additionally, as with eczema, the unpleasantness of the condition can then lead to yet more stress… aargh!
- Unfortunately there’s no cure for psoriasis. However, there are a range of treatments, from creams and lotions to light therapy, which can massively improve symptoms. Have you already tried the Neutral 0% Intensive Repair Cream? However, your first port of call should always be your doctor, but they may refer you to a dermatologist for testing. Thankfully things have come along a lot in recent times. According to ancient texts, rubbing the skin with urine used to be the first treatment option. No thanks!
- Moreover, psoriasis can have a huge impact on self-esteem. However, if you’re feeling rubbish then try and summon the confidence of fellow sufferers Kim Kardashian, Liam Gallagher and Cara Delevingne. Kim, who was diagnosed aged 30, has spoken about it extensively. “Everyone with psoriasis has different symptoms; sometimes the rashes are itchy, sometimes they’re flaky,” she says. “Mine flares up from time to time for different reasons. I’m always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I’m learning to just accept it as part of who I am. Sometimes I just feel like it’s my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it?”. Yep, it’s fair to say it doesn’t seem to stop Kim from flashing the flesh…
- Unperfumed products designed for sensitive skin are a must for psoriasis sufferers. The Neutral 0% Essential Bundle is a great starting point, containing a mix of household and skincare products. It’s especially important to use gentle laundry products. As many of the areas around the body where psoriasis is most commonly experienced are lurking under your clothes, it’s best to avoid anything which could further irritate those scaly patches.
- One of the biggest misconceptions around psoriasis? That it’s contagious – we promise, it isn’t! The condition categorically cannot be passed from one person to another. Sadly, some sufferers still feel that they are shunned – but the Psoriasis Association can help provide support.