August is approaching, which means it’s almost time for Psoriasis Action Month. Although psoriasis is common and affects more than 8 million people in the United States, some facts about this skin condition remain little-known, and many patients continue to go undiagnosed as they struggle with chronic symptoms.
At RI Skin Doc and Rejuvaderm, we want to empower and educate our patients to seek treatment for psoriasis and improve their overall quality of life. Whether you’ve received a diagnosis or you think you may be showing symptoms, here are a few important facts you need to know during Psoriasis Action Month:
Fact: Psoriasis Comes From Your Immune System
Psoriasis is a skin condition, and the most common symptom is an itchy, scaly rash on the elbows, knees, scalp or torso. However, the underlying cause of psoriasis lies elsewhere in your body: your rash is actually the result of an excessive response from your immune system.
This is why the factors that can contribute to a flare-up include events and stimuli that might irritate your body’s defenses, including:
- Surgical incisions
- Infections, including strep throat
- Severe sunburn
- Drug use
- High emotional stress
Fact: Psoriasis Can Cause More than Just a Rash
As previously discussed, the primary symptom of psoriasis is a red, itchy rash that is notable for its dry, flaky or scaly texture. This alone is an extremely uncomfortable effect of psoriasis that can be detrimental to your quality of life. However, that’s not the only reason you should seek treatment for psoriasis as soon as the symptoms appear. Psoriasis is associated with a type of arthritis (called psoriatic arthritis) during which your joints will become inflamed due to the same immune response that causes your rash. Additionally, researchers believe that having psoriasis can also increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, and even depression.
Fact: You Can Get Psoriasis at Any Age
Psoriasis outbreaks are often associated with young adulthood, and for good reason: most patients with psoriasis will begin displaying symptoms between ages 15 and 35. That said, the truth is that psoriasis can begin manifesting at any age, including before and after the typical bracket. Between 10 and 15% of people with psoriasis will begin showing symptoms before age 15, and in a few rare cases, infants have begun to display signs of the condition. Additionally, symptoms of the aforementioned psoriatic arthritis usually don’t occur until ages 30-50.
Fact: Psoriasis is Not Contagious
Because of the unsightly appearance of a psoriasis rash, a harmful misconception remains (especially among children and teens) that the condition is contagious, and touching someone with psoriasis can lead to you contracting the rash as well. This is simply not true, and for those living with psoriasis, the stigma associated with this rumor can be detrimental to quality of life. If you have psoriasis, there is no chance of you passing it on to someone else, and you should never feel shame for a condition you cannot control.
Psoriasis Action Month is not simply a time to educate patients and the community about psoriasis -- as the name suggests, it’s also a time for action. If you believe you or your child may be showing symptoms of psoriasis, don’t wait to seek treatment from an expert dermatologist.
With ongoing safety precautions in place, RI Skin Doc and Rejuvaderm MediSpa are OPEN for in-person visits by appointment only. If you have any questions about our COVID-19 response, visit our website.