Psoriasis, or ‘dry lichen’ as it is traditionally referred to, is a chronic inflammatory dermatological condition.Though the NHS reports that approximately 1.4 million people in the UK today suffer from psoriasis, its cause remains unknown. There are, however, theories that psoriasis may be hereditary and that the immune systems of those with psoriasis mistakenly attack healthy skin cells.
Flare-ups can also be triggered by prescription medicines, such as steroids or beta-blockers, and cold weather and stress are also common psoriasis triggers. Those who smoke or drink alcohol may also see symptoms spreading or worsening because of these stimulants.
Where on the body does psoriasis occur?There are several different types of psoriasis… below are the most common seen in our clinic:
Plaque psoriasisAccounting for around 80-90% of cases, plaque psoriasis is often found on the knees, lower back and elbows. In Chinese Medicine, we attribute this dry type and pattern to ‘hot blood’, where skin is red, itchy and may bleed when scratched. Should this heat intensify, psoriasis worsens, becoming darker in colour and spreading over skin; cases we refer to as fire toxins.
Scalp psoriasisWhether affecting the whole scalp or just part of it, scalp psoriasis can prove very itchy and uncomfortable.
Guttate psoriasisMost common in children or teenagers, guttate psoriasis appears as small sores on the chest, arms, legs and scalp – which may go on to develop into plaque psoriasis.
Psoriatic arthritisThose with psoriasis may experience painful inflammation and stiffness in the hands, elbows, neck, spine and feet – a long-term condition referred to as psoriatic arthritis.
Nail psoriasisAnother condition occurring in those with psoriasis, nail psoriasis describes when nails become yellow, thick and dented as a result of the condition.
Inverse psoriasisAppearing as large red patches on the groin, navel, armpits and underneath breasts, inverse psoriasis can prove most problematic in warmer months or when sweating. Unlike the types above, this psoriasis is due to ‘damp heat’ – it is moister and has less scale.
Pustular psoriasisFar less common than the types mentioned above, pustular psoriasis appears as pus-filled blisters no larger than 10mm on the skin.
Is there a cure for psoriasis?
While no cure, or solution to eradicate it completely, has yet been found, its symptoms can often be very successfully treated and managed with internal herbal therapy, as well as topical herbal creams and ointments.
At Dermatology M, we have designed and produced a range of topical remedies for psoriasis, all underpinned by Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Visit our Spotlight blog on the most effective ways to manage psoriasis here.