To the untrained eye, Psoriasis may resemble other skin conditions, such as eczema, Seborrheic Dermatitis, or even certain skin cancers. Although numerous skin conditions may cause dryness, itchiness, and skin patches, Psoriasis is a condition that has its own characteristics, causes, and treatments. Let’s break down what exactly is Psoriasis, how we can differentiate it from other skin conditions, and how we can treat Psoriasis with budget-friendly products.
Psoriasis, which comes from the Greek meaning ‘itchy condition,’ is an immune-mediated skin condition that occasionally causes itchy skin. People with Psoriasis have overactive immune systems that speed up the production and overgrowth of skin cells. The overproduction ultimately results in a build-up of skin cells on the face, body, and scalp. This is how the characteristic signs of skin patches and bumps are formed.
Although the exact mechanism behind this immune overstimulation is yet to be identified, we do know the key features of Psoriasis. This skin condition is genetic and can occur in both males and females. Stress, smoking, hormonal changes, and allergies can all trigger acute flares of Psoriasis. Symptoms usually start to develop in the late teens, between the ages of 15 – 20, but Psoriasis can arise at any age. Psoriasis is not confined to one skin type, tone, or texture, and people of all skin colors can be diagnosed with Psoriasis.
Now that we know the basics of Psoriasis, let’s take a look at how skin changes may manifest. There are 5 types of Psoriasis and as mentioned, changes can arise on the face, body, or scalp. The most common type is known as Plaque Psoriasis, which creates inflamed red patches and plaques. These plaques are usually covered with scales and mostly appear on the knees, elbows, back, and scalp. Other types of Psoriasis may appear anywhere on the body, even on the nails, feet, and eyelids.
Skin patches, plaques, and scales may vary in color and shape, and may manifest uniquely on different skin tones. For example, people with darker skin tones most commonly have dark brown or purplish-gray patches, while lighter skin tones usually have pink or red patches.
Similar plaque colors, raised skin texture, appearance of skin bumps, and crusty patches are reasons why Psoriasis and skin cancer are sometimes confounded. As subtypes exist in both Psoriasis and skin cancer, making the correct diagnosis between these two skin conditions is paramount.
This brings us to the next point. How can medical professionals diagnose Psoriasis? Along with conducting a thorough assessment of a patient’s family history, Board Certified Dermatologists also examine the skin, scalp, and nails for characteristic changes, signs, or noticeable patchiness. If the results are inconclusive, a small skin sample, known as a biopsy, will be taken for further investigation –- under a microscope.
Let’s say the results came back as positive for Psoriasis. What do we do now? Although the diagnosis may seem overwhelming to most, the good news is many types of Psoriasis can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications and ointments after treating the more severe stage with your dermatologist.
This skin condition can improve with skin products and ointments that hydrate and moisturize the skin. Emollients help trap the moisture inside the skin and they reduce the appearance of dry scales and patches. For example, the Vaseline Clinical Care Dry Hands Rescue is a great option for treating dry and rough skin on the hands and fingers. For larger skin areas, you can go for the Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Jelly Cream, which moisturizes extremely dry skin and protects the skin barrier. Along with hydrating skin products, reducing everyday stress, and maintaining a well-balanced diet can work to in minimizing acute flares of Psoriasis.
But as with any other skin condition, your optimal treatment regimen may be unique and different from most. It’s always best to consult with your Dermatologist and to create a treatment plan that works best for your specific skin condition and skincare needs. If you’re in need of finding a dermatologist, utilize Vaseline x HUED’s directory of dermatologists and practitioners to meet with a provider who understands the care that your skin needs.