Jaipur, February 19, 2019.
Psoriasis is often perceived to be a skin and cosmetic condition that is contagious in nature. However, this couldn’t be farther than the truth.
Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition and is not contagious. In psoriasis, new skin cells develop more rapidly, then they normally do. Our body produces new skin cells that replace the older ones, in a cycle of every 10 to 30 days. In psoriasis, new skin cells form every 3 to 4 days, not allowing the body enough time to shed the older ones. This leads to a build-up on the skin’s surface and appears as dry, itchy, flaky and red patches or silvery scales.
Dr. Sunil Kothiwala, Consultant Dermatologist, Skin Eva Clinic, Jaipur and MBBS, MD (AIIMS, Delhi), said “Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that may affect skin, nail and joints. Psoriasis is not an infection and it is not contagious. The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. However, it is a combination of immune, genetic and environmental factors that makes individuals susceptible to developing psoriasis. Skin lesions are red, thick plaques with white scales involving scalp, elbow, knee and trunk. Nail psoriasis may result in detachment of nail plate with bed, thickening of nail and crumbled nail. It can be diagnosed by examining the skin. Occasionally, a skin biopsy or scraping may be taken to rule out other disorders appearing similar to psoriasis.”
While the condition is more common in adults, it may affect any age group, equally affecting men and women. Due to low awareness on the condition, many people neglect or pass off psoriasis as an ordinary skin rash or topical skin condition. Though there is no single cause for the condition,if you have a family member living with psoriasis, you might be at risk[.
Depending on the severity of psoriasis and how much of the body’s surface it affects, there are variety of treatment options available. While topical therapies and oral medications are beneficial, advanced treatment therapies such as biologics are recommended for severe psoriasis.”Dr. Kothiwala added.
However, psoriasis can also occur in people who do not have a family history of the condition. There are several other factors that could present a risk of psoriasis or trigger flare-ups of the condition.
- Stress: stress cannot cause psoriasis but it can trigger flare-ups. However, it is also true that an existing case of psoriasis can cause stress to patients. As per the National Psoriasis Foundation’s (USA) Mental Health Issue Brief, psoriasis is independently related to stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in women
- Obesity: Research suggests a link between obesity and psoriasis. People of excess weight might experience friction and sweating in deep skin folds leading to lesions. This could lead to or intensify psoriasis
- Skin injury: For those already living with psoriasis, skin injuries such as cuts or grazes on the skin can lead to flare-ups [