There are some chronic skin problems and one of them is what we call as psoriasis. Even some statistics show that it is pretty common in many countries. Like many things in skin problems, it can lead to a buildup of rough, dead, and dry skin cells on the affected skin. But is it a contagious health condition? Does it spread from person to person?
As mentioned before, it is a chronic (long-term) skin problem. The treatment plan is currently not intended to get rid of the problem permanently but for helping the problem under control and prevent the flare-up from recurring.
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It can affect people of all ages, but more common in adults than in teens and children. It can come and go (that’s why we call it ‘chronic). Fortunately in many cases, it is also a controllable condition with appropriate treatments and some lifestyle changes.
What is the key point to distinguish it from other kinds of skin problem? The cause of the problem and symptoms that appear during flare-up can be a general guide.
However, if there is something wrong with your skin, don’t make a diagnosis on your own! It’s much better to see a dermatologist for a clearly diagnosis. This is so crucial since it’s important to get to know the answer of a specific type of skin problem that you have to determine an effective treatment plan.
Psoriasis causes cells of skin to grow faster than it should. The affected skin can be thick with silver, white, or red patches.
It’s normal for a cell of skin to gradually grow, flake off, and then will be replaced by new cell – this cycle takes about a month (4 weeks). But in psoriasis, new cell of skin can grow faster than normal. This can affect the balance of skin cell’s life cycle.
When there are some cells of skin grow and move rapidly to the skin’s surface, this can cause a build-up of cells that eventually make thick patches what we call as plaques. These plaques most often appear on certain parts of the body, particularly such as lower back, hands, feet, scalp, elbows, and knees. Their size can range from small to large.
Like most things in chronic skin problems, psoriasis may not lead to a serious condition but it can be embarrassing – particularly in the case when the problem affects teens. However again, it is manageable condition in many cases.
The clearly answer for the exact cause of the problem is not fully known yet. However, there are some possible factors that may play a key role in causing the problem.
Currently, it is thought to be associated to an immune system disorder with cells in the body of patient. More specifically, a cell called T cell or T lymphocyte (a type of white cell) may be the answer.
Naturally, this cell travels throughout the body (including the skin) to help protect the body and fight against harmful substances, such as bacteria or virus. But in people with psoriasis, the T cell attacks the wrong target (healthy cells of skin).
This mechanism may then affect the balance of the life cycle of skin cells, as noted before. Overactive T cells causes the over production of both healthy cells and other white cells which then can lead to the faster movement of new skin cells to the outermost layer of skin. As a result, the old skin cells cannot slough off as well as they should and resulting the scaly patches on the skin.
While the immune system problem may play a key role, some experts also believe that genetics may also have an effect in increasing the risk. Other risk factors may include some lifestyle factors.
The affected skin can be embarrassing, as mentioned before. And when it affects the visible spots such as hands, elbow, or even scalp – you may worry that it can spread to others when someone accidentally touches the affected skin.
The good news, it is not contagious condition. In other words, it cannot spread from person to person.