Scalp Problems - Psoriasis
Is a speeding up of the usual replacement processes of the skin. Normally skin cells take about 21-28 days to replace themselves; in psoriasis this process is greatly accelerated, and skin cells can be replaced every 2-6 days. This results in an accumulation of skin cells on the surface of the skin, in the form of a psoriatic plaque. This process is the same wherever it occurs on the body.
Psoriasis can occur at any point in the lifespan, affecting children, teenagers, adults and older people. It affects males and females equally.
Patches of psoriasis (also referred to as plaques) are raised red patches of skin, covered with silvery white scales. The silvery white scales are the accumulation of the skin cells waiting to be shed, and the redness is due to the increase in blood vessels required to support the increase in cell production.
Traditionally psoriasis was thought to be a condition of the uppermost layer of the skin (the epidermis), but recent research has found that the changes in the skin begin in the immune system when certain immune cells (T cells) are triggered and become overactive. The T cells produce inflammatory chemicals, and act as if they were fighting an infection or healing a wound, which leads to the rapid growth of skin cells causing psoriatic plaques to form. You may therefore hear psoriasis being described as an “auto-immune disease” or “immune-mediated condition”. It is not yet clear what triggers the immune system to act in this way.
Treatment: There are four categories of treatments for Psoriasis ranging from Topical therapies and treatments to the more stronger Phototherapies and systemic medication, each case is different and the medical practitioner should take each case on its merits and not give up after a few attempts at one or two treatments.
Ideally the GP (dermatologist) should systematically work through the range of each category until they find the best possible treatment for each individual.
Diet and lifestyle also comes into treating chronic cases and again should be taken into consideration at the time of consultation.