Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, recurrent skin condition that affects the skin and joints, with the scalp being a common site. It is more likely to occur in dry skin rather than oily, well-moisturised skin and it can cause hair to be dry and brittle. Red scaly patches of inflammation appear and there is excessive skin production. The skin rapidly accumulates in certain areas forming dry, well-defined lesions of silvery white scales with underlying bleeding points.
Red scaly patches of inflamed skin
Excessive skin production resulting in dry white scaly skin with underlying blood-flow
Dry and brittle hair
The causes are largely unknown but it is thought that genetic factors involved. However, there are certain things which can aggravate the condition, including:
Excessive alcohol consumption
Since the causes are unknown it can be difficult to treat this condition and the treatments are often based on trial and error.
The first treatment that is usually tried is medicated ointments, known as topical treatments. The ointments applied directly to the skin help reduce any inflammation and soften and remove the plaques of scaling. These treatments can irritate normal skin, be time consuming and awkward to apply as well as stain clothing and have a strong odour.Bathsolutions and moisturisers can also be used to soothe the skin and reduce dryness.
The second treatment that is normally tried is exposing the skin to UV light which is called phototherapy.
The third and final treatment is to take medication internally as pills or injections, which is known as systemic treatment.