We may have heard of the disease but it’s unlikely that we know exactly what it is. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system sees the skin as an enemy and mistakenly attacks it. In response to this attack, skin cells grow much faster than they normally would and accumulate on the surface of the body. They show as dry, itchy patches of skin that can be red, white, or silvery and covered in scales. Here are some facts about the disease that you may not have known.
1. Psoriasis Is Not Contagious
Contrary to popular belief, psoriasis is not contagious. The lesions and open wounds may look infectious but the disorder is often a result of genetic factors and other possible triggers like puberty and hormonal changes.1 It is not curable but it can be managed with medication and certain lifestyle changes.
2. Urine And Pine Tar Were Once Treatments
Most ancient medical treatment involved some bizarre procedures and strange fluids. This example is no different. In ancient texts, urine was one of the first recommended treatments for psoriasis. Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician used pine tar to treat the itching and soothe the skin. Fortunately, for us, neither of these remedies are used in modern psoriasis treatment.
3. Tattoos Can Make It Worse
Any kind of injury or lesion to the skin risks the eruption of these dry patches. In some cases, psoriasis can develop on tattoos even if they weren’t originally present on that part of the body.2
4. It Is Related To Diabetes And Obesity
Researchers have found that type 2 diabetes and a BMI over 30 can make one 50% more likely to develop psoriasis. The studies suggest that this is mostly a result of genetic factors. Inflammation and drinking alcohol also have a role to play in increasing risk.3
5. Exercise Can Alleviate Its Symptoms
Studies have found that regular vigorous exercise actually reduces the occurrence of psoriasis symptoms.4 Not only does vigorous activity help reduce the likelihood of other related disorders like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, but it also helps reduce inflammation in the body.
6. Sun Exposure Can Help
Exposure to sunlight allows the skin to produce some much-needed vitamin D which is essential for skin health.5 However, this does come with the risk of sunburn and long-term sun damage. People with psoriasis need to be especially careful about sunburn as any kind of physical injury to the skin can cause flare-ups.
7. Psoriasis Gets Worse In Cold Weather
Most people notice that their symptoms get worse during colder, dry weather. In contrast, warm sunny weather actually reduces their symptoms.
8. Makeup Is Not Out Of Bounds
Most people think that makeup is not an option for those with psoriasis. As long they choose the right ones, it’s not an issue. Just make sure to choose noncomedogenic makeup that is fragrance-free. Do a patch test just to be safe.
Psoriasis is often recognized as a painful skin disorder but we’re all too misinformed about its true nature. Being aware of the disease can help us be more sensitive to those around us.
|↑1||Psoriasis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.|
|↑2||Orzan, O. A., L. G. Popa, E. S. Vexler, I. Olaru, V. M. Voiculescu, and R. S. Bumbăcea. “Tattoo-induced psoriasis.” Journal of medicine and life 7, no. Spec Iss 2 (2014): 65.|
|↑3||Lønnberg, Ann Sophie, Lone Skov, Axel Skytthe, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, Ole Birger Pedersen, and Simon Francis Thomsen. “Association of psoriasis with the risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity.” JAMA dermatology 152, no. 7 (2016): 761-767.|
|↑4||Frankel, Hillary C., Jiali Han, Tricia Li, and Abrar A. Qureshi. “The association between physical activity and the risk of incident psoriasis.” Archives of dermatology 148, no. 8 (2012): 918-924.|
|↑5||Psoriasis. How is it treated? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.|