Psoriasis: Causes and Triggers
Psoriasis may look gross but it isn’t contagious and often patients suffering from this condition suffer from social isolation and discrimination. It’s a dry, scaly skin disorder and sometimes inflamed skin that can be very itchy.
Only 2 to 3 percent of the population develop it and one or more genes inherited could eventually lead to psoriasis. Researchers believed that a person develops psoriasis when the genes (that cause psoriasis) are exposed to specific external factors called “triggers” resulting in quick skin cells production.
The genes responsible for the immune system receive a signal mix up and instead of protecting the body from foreign invaders, it promotes inflammation of the skin instead. Psoriasis may appear anywhere and can form patches called plaques on a person’s knee cap, elbows, hands, feet, back, neck and scalp.
Skin cells takes about 21-28 days to replace themselves but in patients with psoriasis it only takes around 2-6 days. This condition may develop in people between the age of 11 and 45 and according to scientists there are about 25 genes that are unique in people with psoriasis and it takes more than one gene to cause the disease.
What Triggers Psoriasis
The “triggers” in psoriasis may be avoided if you are able to identify it, here are the list of factors that may cause psoriasis:
4. Hormonal changes
5. Cold weather
6. Skin injury such as a cut, scrape, bug bite and severe sunburn
7. Excessive intake of alcohol
8. Medications such as lithium, anti inflammatory medicines and ACE inhibitors
9. Immune disorders such as HIV
Anyone is susceptible to develop psoriasis but the following factors can increase your risk of developing this disease:
1. Genes. This is the most significant risk factor for a person to develop psoriasis. Our genes have the greatest impact on us to develop diseases. If your parents have psoriasis, your chance of getting this condition is very high.
2. Stress. Stress can impact the immune system and high stress levels may increase your risk of getting this disease.
3. Obesity. It may be unbelievable but obesity is one risk factor for a person to develop psoriasis. Excess weight gain can increase your risk of psoriasis and it usually appears in skin creases and folds in a person’s fatty skin.
4. Smoking. Smoking almost affects the entire body organs and the immune system is one of them. It does not only develop psoriasis but can also increase the severity of the disease.
5. Viral and bacterial infections. HIV is one of the immune disorders that can easily trigger a person to develop psoriasis because the immune health is compromised. Children and young adults alike affected with recurrent infections (like strep throat) are also at high risk of getting this disease.
Natural Treatment for Psoriasis
1. Moisten Up
Psoriasis causes dry skin and can lead to itching, scratching and burning making the condition of your skin to worsen. To prevent this from happening, always keep your skin moisturised. Apply a good natural moisturiser to the skin (something with Shea butter would be ideal) or use humidifier inside your home or office to keep your skin from forming plaques.
2. Avoid Dyes and Perfumes
Perfumes can make you smell great but they contain chemicals that can surely aggravate the condition of your skin causing inflammation. Also avoid dyes and other body products that can cause irritation or worsening of psoriasis.
3. Use Apple Cider Vinegar Dip
In ancient times, vinegar was used as a disinfectant and is known to help relieve scalp itch from psoriasis. Organic apple cider vinegar can be bought online or at the grocery stores. Dilute apple cider vinegar with water on a 1:1 ratio to help prevent a burning sensation, once the solution has dried up rinse it with water to prevent irritation.
You should see a positive result within a few weeks, but if you start experiencing cracked skin and bleeding, stop using it. NOTE: You must not use vinegar of you have open wounds and don’t use the plain old white vinegar, it’s no good for this purpose.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking have many side effects and it can also make psoriasis worse. Quitting smoking is one of the best remedies to help care for your psoriasis.
A short burst of sunlight can treat your psoriasis but sunburn can aggravate it. Apply a natural sunscreen (SPF 30 and above) to areas of your skin with psoriasis before going out for a sun-bathing session.
Twenty minutes everyday is a good way to kick start your sun exposure but make sure it’s in the safer times (before 10am or after 3pm). You may also want to consider talking to your trusted health practitioner for recommendations.
6. Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel from the aloe plant can be applied to the affected skin with psoriasis three times a day to reduce redness and scaling according to researchers. As much as possible use the natural aloe vera and not in tablet form.
7. Spice it Up
Curcumin is a an herb with powerful anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is the active ingredient found in turmeric and has the ability to alter gene expression.
Research in 2012 done by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular biology proved that curcumin can help minimise psoriasis and its arthritis flare. The reason why many patients suffering from this condition prefer curcumin as treatment of choice for psoriasis, is because of its effectivity and fast relief.
8. Bathe Carefully
When taking a bath, use lukewarm water, add salts, oil or oatmeal (if not a coeliac) and soak in it for a minute to soothe your skin. Pat yourself somewhat dry and then apply a cream and remember not to rub the towel on your skin to prevent irritation. Take fewer showers and baths (once a day is enough). The more baths you take the more it will strip your skin of natural oils.
What Others Need To Know
Let me reiterate that psoriasis is NOT contagious and it is absolutely a myth to say that one person may get it from another. It is not a skin disorder but a disease of the immune system and is something that one may never catch. If you have psoriasis, it’s good to be equipped with all the facts about this condition and be ready to answer questions from other people curious to know more about it.
*Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.