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What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a condition where patients have an increased number of skin cells being produced within the epidermis (the outer layer of skin). The excess skin cells appear as patches on the skin. These patches are often scaly, and red in appearance, with light coloured areas where skins cells are being shed from the skin. The severity of psoriasis is different in each individual that suffers from this condition. Some patients with psoriasis have very few symptoms whilst others have severe symptoms which can cause a deterioration in their quality of life. Patients with severe psoriasis may feel less confident in social situations because of the appearance of their skin. That is one of the reasons why Trusted Treatments offers a selection of creams, ointments and gels for the treatment of psoriasis. You can complete a consultation form online for a specific psoriasis treatment, or for the condition psoriasis so that a clinician can offer several treatment options. If you feel that you would benefit from a video consultation with a doctor, or other clinician, you can book an online video consultation from the homepage of Trusted Treatments.
What parts of the Skin Does Psoriasis Affect?
Psoriasis can affect the skin on any part of the body. Most often psoriasis occurs on the joints, such as elbows and knees, on the face, on the scalp, and in areas of the back. Some patients with severe psoriasis may be affected in several areas.
Psoriasis is termed a chronic condition because it tends to be something that affects an individual diagnosed with psoriasis throughout their entire life. However, people with psoriasis may have periods of their life when the symptoms are either more severe or greatly improved. The reasons that psoriasis occurs and the reasons why there may be times during a person's life where the symptoms are improved or worsened are not fully understood.
For patients with psoriasis, the number of skin cells is produced at a more rapid rate than people without the condition. Patients with psoriasis may replicate their skin cells every week (or even more frequently), where has patients without psoriasis may replicate the same number of cells in a month. Although the triggers and reasons for severe psoriasis and not fully understood, psoriasis is linked to the immune system, and there may be cellular responses that mean healthy skin cells are attacked by the body's own immune system, which then triggers the creation of new skin cells at a prolific rate. Psoriasis can be triggered by several factors. These can include infections, some medicines (including some for mental illness and hypertension), and although it is not confirmed. there are suggestions that psoriasis may be triggered by a person's emotional state, for example during times of severe depression or significantly stressful periods.
How is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
Generally, psoriasis is diagnosed via a visual inspection of the patient's skin. The clinician will look for patches, assess the history of the condition and anything that the patient is aware of that makes the condition worse or triggers it. In addition to visual inspection, there can be tests performed that normally involve a small scraping of the skin, which will be examined in a laboratory environment. The laboratory can often determine the exact type of psoriasis as well as look for other conditions that have a similar appearance. This supports the correct diagnosis. Quite often a GP will refer to a dermatologist if there are some symptoms that are not clear or there is any risk of infection, or the potential of a more serious skin condition.
What can I do to Improve Psoriasis Symptoms?
Although the exact mechanism that causes psoriasis is not fully understood, there are precautions that you can take. These precautions may reduce the sensitivity to triggers and lessen the severity of the condition.
These precautions include drinking within the NHS recommended guidelines, stopping smoking if you are a smoker, and controlling your body weight through a well-balanced diet combined with an appropriate amount of exercise for your individual needs.
There is more information available from the following organisations:
- NHS Conditions - Psoriasis
- The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance (PAPAA)
- The British Association of Dermatologists
- The Psoriasis Association
How is Psoriasis Treated?
Treatments for psoriasis include topical steroids, coal tar preparations, salicylic acid-containing preparations, general emollients, as well as creams or lotions containing vitamin D analogues. These are the types of treatment that trusted treatments can offer to patients by a remote assessment. Note that topical corticosteroids are only suitable for treating localised areas of psoriasis. Patients with undiagnosed skin conditions may require a video consultation from Trusted Treatments. Following your consultation, you are likely to receive treatments with advice, or a referral to a more suitable specialist service along with providing treatments to reduce the severity of the symptoms in the interim period.
Treatments for psoriasis include:
Vitamin D Analogues
Dovonex, Silkis, generic calcipotriol formulations.
Salicylic Acid Containing Products
Sebco, Psorin, Capasal
Coal Tar Containing Products
Alphosyl 2 in 1, Polytar, Sebco.
Thank you for vising Trusted Treatments, the UK online clinic that offers assessment for a range of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne, and dermatitis. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about psoriasis or any other medical condition where a prescription treatment may be beneficial.
This resource has been last edited on 5th June 2021 by: Richard Neilson MPharm MBA MRPharmS MCIM.
This resource has been reviewed by: Pending Review.
If your condition or symptoms require urgent treatment, please call NHS 111 by dialling 111 on your telephone. If you require emergency treatment, for example, if you or someone else has chest pain, has received an injury to the head, or has been involved in a serious accident, call 999 on your telephone immediately. If your condition or symptoms are not something that can be assessed remotely through the Trusted Treatments online doctor service, please make an appointment with your usual GP at the earliest opportunity. If your GP cannot offer an appointment in a timeframe that you feel is appropriate, call 111 on your telephone and seek advice, explaining your concerns. Read more about where to get help..