Psoriasis is a skin disease that occurs when the immune system mistakes the skin cells as a virus and sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of your skin cells.
There are five different types of psoriasis (none of which are contagious): plague, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic. The most common form of psoriasis is plague psoriasis that is red and white scaly patches of skin.
Psoriasis is a chronic recurring condition that can effect any area of your body. Why it occurs is still not known, but it's believed to be triggered by injury to the skin. It has been suggested that stress can be a big contributing factor to psoriasis, along with congestive heart failure, or type 2 diabetes.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there is a range of treatments that can improve your symptoms and improve the appearance.
Psoriasis: What do I have to do to prepare?
Before beginning of the treatment you'll be asked to stop taking medicines that make you more sensitive to UV light as it can result in skin damage, all creams, ointments and cosmetics etc as well, unless directed by your doctor.
Psoriasis: What's the treatment like?
A wide range of treatments are available for psoriasis but knowing which one is suited for you can be tricky.
Topical: cream and ointments can be prescribed to apply to your skin.
Phototherapy: if your psoriasis has proved resistant to topical treatments usually phototherapy would be the next step. Once you've had an arm test to test how sensitive you are to the treatment, allowing a safe dose of UVB light to use. The effected area is then exposed to the UVB in a cabinet (like a sunbed) containing fluorescent light tubes. It's said that most patients need about 15-30 treatments to clear psorasis.
Oral and injected: medicine can be prescribed to reduce the production of your skin cells including treatments that target specific parts of the immune system.
Combination: when a combination of treatments are combined to help treat your psoriasis.
Psoriasis: What about after?
A few hours after each treatment you should use neutral moisturizer.
On bright days you will need to protect exposed areas from sunlight, making sure to wear sun protection. So this means no indulging in sun bathing during the course of treatment.
Psoriasis: Are there any risks or side effects?
UVB treatment can cause your skin to become itchy and red afterwards, like a sunburn. However long term exposure to the ultraviolet radiation unfortunately is likely to increase your risk of skin ageing and skin cancer. Even though there is no conclusive evidence to suggest an increased risk of skin cancer from UVB treatments, care should still be taken with the amount of treatments you have in the long run.