Psoriasis is one of the skin diseases in which the production of new skin cells occurs too quickly.
What is psoriasis?
If new skin cells are not produced properly, they die and accumulate. As a result, the skin in those areas becomes hard and flakes appear. In a more advanced stage, you may also develop inflammation in your joints and your nails may become discoloured. Because this disease is related to the production of cells, there is no risk of infection.
Psoriasis can occur at any age, but it mainly occurs in adults. About 8 in 1000 people have this disease.
How do I recognize psoriasis?
Placks of flakes may appear on your skin; if you have light skin, the spots may turn red. The spots are very itchy and white or silver-gray flakes develop.
The spots are often on the knee and elbow, lower back and in body folds such as groin and armpits. You can almost never find the spots on the face. The spots remain for a few weeks and then disappear again.
When it comes to other complaints such as the nails, you can get crumbly or thick nails. The inflammation often manifests itself on one side in the fingers, toes and knees. The joints may be warm and swollen, sometimes even looking slightly red.
Can I do something about it myself?
There are a number of things to keep in mind that can make psoriasis worse.
Try to ensure that the skin is damaged as little as possible in sensitive areas. Therefore, do not scratch the skin and keep your nails short. In connection with this, it also applies that the skin should not dry out too much. This includes not taking a shower that is too hot or sitting in the bath for too long. Use as little soap as possible and stop smoking.
Sunlight can help the skin heal faster, but make sure you don't burn your skin. Finally, talking about your problem helps, both to give it a place and to learn to deal with it. The GP or practice nurse can work with you to see how you can deal with this disease.
Can the pharmacist do anything for me?
The disease psoriasis itself cannot be cured, but it can be supported with medication. The pharmacist has a greasy ointment that you can apply without perfume or medicine. Apply this ointment to the areas twice a day, for example in the morning and in the evening. The ointment is available without a prescription.
Which medications are used for psoriasis?
If the oily ointment does not provide a solution for your psoriasis, you can use corticosteroids or a vitamin D analogue in consultation with your doctor. These two medications are not available over the counter. A follow-up check should be carried out when using these medications. If the disease is not controlled by your GP, you may be referred to a dermatologist.