Sunday 29th October marks World Psoriasis Day 2017. Affecting roughly 2% of people in the UK, this chronic skin condition causes not just physical pain but is also a source of mental anguish for sufferers.
In advance of the annual global awareness day for the condition, Pharmacy Outlet has produced some information about the skin disorder, how it is contracted and how to treat it, including some new products that could provide welcome relief for people with psoriasis.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasisis an autoimmune disease that typically causes red, itchy and flaky patches of skin. The chronic condition results in the body over-producing skin cells, in turn causing scaling on the skin’s surface.
For those with psoriasis, the effects can vary dramatically – for some people, they only experience small areas of sore and dry skin, while others can see large proportions of their body covered by the uncomfortable condition.
The areas of the body that are usually worst affected by psoriasis are the forearms, shins, around the navel, and the scalp.
As well as psoriatic arthritis, lymphomas and cardiovascular disease, people who suffer from psoriasis are also at a higher risk of depression – something that is triggered by fears and concerns over the way they look when the skin condition becomes inflamed.
How do you get it?
There are a number of theories and possibilities for how an individual can contract psoriasis:
- Problems with the immune system – contracting psoriasis is often linked with problems that one has with their immune system. While an average person will take between three and four weeks to produce new layers of skin to replace the old ones, for someone with psoriasis this process can take just three to seven days; this points to issues with the immune system, which is accelerating the process to fight a perceived threat.
- Genetics – one in three people with psoriasis also have a close family relative who also has the condition. However, the exact gene that causes the problem is yet to be conclusively identified.
- Lifestyle and other conditions – there is a variety of other factors that can prompt or worsen one’s psoriasis. These include smoking; excessive alcohol intake; hormonal changes; high stress levels; infections; sun burn or cold weather; and cuts, scrapes and insect bites.
How can you treat it?
While no absolute cure is available for the condition, there are several different methods for treating psoriasis. These fall into three categories: topical, which is the use of creams and ointments on the skin; phototherapy, when you expose the skin to certain types of ultraviolet (UV) light; and systemic, which is the use of oral and injected medications.
The most common of the treatments, topical medication includes emollients (moisturisers) and steroid creams. These are applied directly to the affected patches of skin and can help sooth dryness, itchiness and soreness. A new range of such creams has recently launched to the market – FrezyDerm has a selection of products to offer relief and improvement to psoriatic skin, with four different items available for each stage of the treatment process, from cleansing the area through to reconstructing and protecting the skin.
For those who have large areas of their body affected by psoriasis, using special electronic sunbeds can be a better course of treatment. UV light exposure through regular sessions on the sunbeds can help manage the condition.
However, for any psoriasis sufferer, it is vital that they visit their GP or pharmacist for further advice on which type of product or treatment would be best for them.
How can EPS help people with psoriasis?
People who suffer from psoriasis often require regular prescribed mediation, whether that is steroid creams, special moisturisers or tablets. By using the NHS’s Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) psoriasis sufferers can have their prescriptions delivered directly to their door. Not only does this mean that they will always have the mediation they need to manage the condition, but it can also better protect their skin by saving them from additional trips to their pharmacist over the harsh winter months.
Simply register with Pharmacy Outlet and let us deliver your NHS prescription to your door – the process is quick and simple, so sign up today by clicking here.