Once you understand that psoriasis is an internal disease and not just a skin complaint it will be easier to control. You will no longer need to waste money on messy ointments and latest treatments of psoriasis that give only temporary relief at best and instead concentrate finding lasting relief from this embarrassing and unsightly condition What is psoriasis? It is an immune system disorder where skin cells or keratinocytes multiply faster than their normal 28-30 day cycle. These extra skin cells then build up on the surface of the skin forming red inflamed plaques or lesions with silvery scales, which can be found on all parts of the body, but more commonly on the elbows and knees and occasionally on the scalp, arms and legs. Psoriasis is not fussy whom it attacks! People of any age, sex or race can become victims. However the severity of the disease can vary greatly in different people. Some people only ever have one outbreak and are never troubled again while others suffer a severe form and are in constant discomfort. The severity of psoriasis is measured by a system called PASI, or psoriasis area and severity index which is based on the skin area affected and the level of inflammation and redness present. Causes of psoriasis An immune system malfunction is believed to be the most common cause. The immune system is mistakenly triggered which causes an increase in the white blood cells which causes inflammation. Stress, especially prolonged stress can also be a trigger. Genetics may also play a part and some doctors believed it can be passed down through the generations. Certain medications can also bring on an attack. Is psoriasis contagious? The answer to this is a definite no. It cannot be passed on to others on contact or in any other way. How can I find a psoriasis treatment Many treatments have been tried but most have only a temporary effect as they are treating the disease from outside and not from within. The most common medical treatment is topically applied cortisone cream followed by coal tar ointment, anthralin and calamine lotion. Of all these the calamine lotion is probably the safest but it only stop the itching for a little while. Coal tar ointment can be effective but is messy and can cause skin irritation. Cortisone products can causes thinning of the skin when used consistantly so avoid these if possible. Some people find that moisturizing the skin can bring relief. If you are trying this only use a moisturizer with natural ingredients as one containing mineral oil can do more harm than good. Exposure to sunlight or ultra violet A rays (UVA) is one of the latest treatments of psoriasis, but the side effects can be skin cancer and premature wrinkling of the skin. Exposure to UV should be monitered very carefully. Then there are the internal treatments such as methotrexate and cyclosporine. I like to say “if you can’t pronounce it – don’t eat it” Well nowhere is this more true than these two examples! Methotrexate can lead to hair loss, decreased resistance to infection, headaches and miscarriage among other things. Side effects associated with cyclosporine include insomnia, acne, stomach pains and nausea. Is there anything that’s safe to use to treat psoriasis? Since the disease is triggered by the immune system the logical answer is to treat the immune system. Herbal remedies can nurture our skin from the inside making them very effective. Small lifestle changes such as eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water can also give your immune system a boost. Because psoriasis comes from within, it will always respond better to an internal treatment. Treat the body from within and use a natural anti itching cream or lotion on the skin itself. We can’t yet cure psoriasis but we can manage it well enough so it doesn’t have such a debilitating effect on our lives.