Psoriasis affects millions of people worldwide yet understanding of the condition is very limited. Even people with the condition often do not fully understand it.
Psoriasis occurs when there is a malfunction in the immune system causing the skin cells to regenerate to quickly. The reason for this occurring is not known however it tends to occur in families leading to the belief that a genetic defect causes the condition.
Overactive skin cells result in red, scaly lesions that crack and bleed. Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body but the most commonly affected areas are the elbows, knees, scalp and torso.
A lack of general understanding of psoriasis has lead to the development of many myths:
Psoriasis is contagious – fallacy – although often-unsightly psoriasis is not contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person.
You must be dirty if you have psoriasis – fallacy – Psoriasis is a malfunction of the immune system. It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It is not related to personal hygiene.
Psoriasis is purely a skin condition – fallacy – whilst primarily a skin condition psoriasis affects far more than the skin. Psoriatic arthritis may also develop affecting the joints and pitting of the nails on both the fingers and toes is common. Psoriasis can also have a profound emotional effect.
Psoriasis is caused by stress – fallacy – Whilst stress is a major trigger factor affecting psoriasis it is not the actual cause. People who inherit psoriasis genes that cause the immune system to become over active will develop psoriasis. Both genetic and environmental factors can trigger the disease.
A good treatment will cure psoriasis – fallacy – Unfortunately this too is a myth. Whilst there are treatments available that will bring the condition under control there is yet to be a treatment developed that will cure psoriasis. The psoriasis gene will always be present in the body waiting to be triggered causing an outbreak of the condition.