What is Psoriasis?

Updated: Aug 9

Writer: Tasnia Hakim Editor: Vienna Mak


Psoriasis is a condition in which skin builds up on various parts of the body, resulting in flaky, dry and painful patches of skin. Scalp psoriasis is when psoriasis occurs on the scalp and ears near the scalp, such as the back of the ears. According to Healthline, scalp psoriasis shows correlation to arthritis, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity.


What causes psoriasis? Although it is still being researched, there are a few possible causes for psoriasis. Healthline suggests one possible cause is having high quantities of the immune system cell called T cells that help protect the body from viruses/bacteria. These T-cells may mistakenly attack healthy cells causing in an excess buildup of skin cells on the skin. When it causes inflammation and flaky, dry skin, it gives rise to psoriasis. Additionally, the paper “Psoriasis: Obesity and Fatty Acids” (Kunz et al., Frontier Immunol, 2019) states that obesity and diet may be linked to psoriasis because obesity alters the cellular composition and activity of skin inflammatory cells. This potentially can cause psoriasis and its symptoms. Finally, genetics may play a role, where if one parent has psoriasis, the likelihood their child would have psoriasis increases.


Currently, psoriasis has various treatments. It is always better to treat it sooner before it can cause further damage. Topical treatments and oral treatments are available. One topical medication is anthralin, a cream applied to the scalp for some time before one washes it off. Another topical treatment is calcipotriene, a cream that can alter how skin cells grow in an area of the body that psoriasis affects. Oral medicines, including methotrexate and oral retinoids, are available for treating psoriasis by reducing skin cells from overgrowing. Overall, psoriasis is a painful condition but can be treated through proper care.


Citations

- Erica Cirino. (2018, November 9). What’s Causing My Scalp Psoriasis and How Do I Treat It? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/scalp-psoriasis.

- Kunz, M., Simon, J. C., & Saalbach, A. (2019). Psoriasis: Obesity and Fatty Acids. Frontiers in immunology, 10, 1807. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01807

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