What is Psoriasis?

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition. The disease appears to be immune related and passed genetically. Approximately one-third of people who develop psoriasis have at least one family member with the condition. The disease is complex and not well understood. We do know that immune cells are mistakenly activated and move to the skin. Once in the skin, they begin to act as if they are fighting an infection, which sets off a chain of events that leads to the rapid growth of skin cells. The cells pile up on each other, thereby creating the classic silvery scale.


Plaque psoriasis appears as patches of raised, reddish skin covered by silvery-white scale. These plaques frequently form on the flexor areas of your body, such as elbows and knees. Psoriasis usually causes discomfort. The skin often itches, and it may crack and bleed. In severe cases, the itching and discomfort may keep a person awake at night, and the pain can make everyday tasks difficult.


Unfortunately, Psoriasis affects people physically and emotionally as well. Studies have shown that stress, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem are common in people with psoriasis. Embarrassment is common feeling. Imagine getting your hair cut and noticing that the stylist or barber is visibly uncomfortable. What if you extended your hand to someone and the person recoiled? How would you feel if you spent most of your life trying to hide your skin?


Psoriasis is a chronic condition because there is currently no cure. People often experience flares and remissions throughout their life. Controlling the signs and symptoms typically requires lifelong therapy. In a national survey, less than 40% of people reported that they were satisfied with the treatment of their skin disease.


BLACK COAL TAR is available in topical, shampoo, and bath solutions. It can reduce cell growth, but is a known carcinogen.

TOPICAL STEROIDS may clear psoriasis lesions, but the clearing is usually not complete or very long-lasting. When psoriasis lesions return, some people may be tempted to use a steroid for too long or on inappropriate areas of the skin. Improper use can increase the common side effects associated with topical steroid medications, such as thinning of the skin, redness, ”rebound” psoriasis flares, and systemic effects in the body that can affect internal organs.

DOVONEX (Calcipotriene) is a form of synthetic vitamin D3 that slows down the rate of skin cell growth, flattens psoriasis lesions and removes scale. It is not effective at decreasing inflammation and redness. Dovonex does not work as quickly as topical steroids, but it is FDA-approved for long-term use.

TAZORAC (Tazarotene) is a vitamin A derivative and is also known as a topical retinoid. Tazorac slows the rapid growth of skin cells found in psoriasis. It is absorbed systemically and can cause birth defects in pregnant women. Tazorac can cause burning and itching.


Present in natural sunlight, ultraviolet light B (UVB) is an effective treatment for psoriasis. UVB penetrates the skin and slows the abnormally rapid growth of skin cells associated with psoriasis. UVB treatment involves regular exposure of the skin to artificial UVB light. The main side effects are sunburn and skin cancer.


Cyclosporine is a prescription systemic medication used to treat psoriasis. Cyclosporine suppresses the immune system and prevents actions of certain immune cells, thereby slowing the growth of skin cells. Taking Cyclosporine can cause the following potential side effects: Kidney damage/toxicity, Headache, High blood pressure, Flu-like symptoms, skin cancer.

METHOTREXATE was initially used to treat cancer, but was discovered to be effective in clearing psoriasis. Methotrexate slows down the rate of skin cell growth. Methotrexate has a major risk of Liver Cancer and toxicity.

SORIATANE is a prescription medication called an oral retinoid, which is a synthetic form of vitamin A. The precise mechanism of how Soriatane works to control psoriasis is unknown. In general, retinoids affect how cells regulate their behavior. Retinoids help control how cells multiply, including how fast skin cells will grow and shed from the skin's surface. Soriatane carries a risk of birth defects in developing fetuses if the mother is using the drug and can cause depression, headaches, or joint pain.

BIOLOGICS (Enbrel, Humira, Remicade): Biologic medicines are designed to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by targeting overactive immune cells in the body. They treat psoriasis by preventing the activation of immune cells that normally start the psoriasis cascade. Common side effects for all biologics include respiratory infections, flu-like symptoms and injection site reactions (such as swelling, itch or rash). Long term side effects are unknown. The cost can be very expensive, up to $10,000 per year.

Try Doctor's Defense to help your skin.  There are two options to choose from.

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Natural Support for Eczema, Baby Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Seborrhea, Seborrheic Dermatitis, Rosacea, Acne,and Inflamed Skin.
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