Psoriasis Information Center

Everything You Need to Know About Psoriasis

Updated April , 2024

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin-related autoimmune disease that causes skin cells to build rapidly. The resulting silver scales result in red patches on the skin, causing redness and inflammation. It shortens the lifespan of new skin cells from one month to a mere few days. As a result, the cells develop and rise to the surface, leaving minimum time to fall off the skin. Usually, you can find such scales on the feet, neck, face, hands, and scalp. In rare conditions, the mouth, genital area, and nails may also experience scales.

Roughly 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. About 10 percent of people who have psoriasis will develop severe symptoms. Men and women are equally likely to get it, although it most often appears in people between ages 15 and 35.

Causes of Psoriasis

Medicine

Skin Trauma

Alcohol

Infection

Endocrine Disorders

Genetic Predisposition

Stress

Obesity

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it’s known that genetics play a large role. With a family history of psoriasis, your chances of getting it to increase. To prevent symptoms from worsening, stay away from cigarette smoke and limit your alcohol intake. Psoriasis can also be caused by stress. If you feel overwhelmed or suffer from anxiety, talk to your doctor about medications or treatments that can help. In some cases, psoriasis is due to an underlying health condition such as endocrine disorders, arthritis, thyroid disease, or diabetes. Any infections in your body can trigger psoriasis flares, including strep throat, mononucleosis, and fungal infections. It is also known that in some cases psoriasis can be triggered by skin traumas of various kinds.

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Psoriasis affects a large number of people all over the world, and you can find it at several different places on your body. In addition to appearing all over the body, psoriasis can sometimes even develop in unexpected places, such as psoriasis under the breast or psoriasis under the arms. It can even appear on your fingernails and toenails as well as inside your mouth, on your eyelashes, and around your eyes themselves.

Types of Psoriasis

Vulgar Psoriasis

Vulgar psoriasis, also known as chronic plaque psoriasis, accounts for 80% of all cases. The lesions are red or pink and covered with a silvery scale.

Guttate Psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is characterized by small, scaly, red, and itchy spots that appear over large areas. It is most common in patients under 20 years old and accounts for 10-15% of all cases.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis affects approximately 20% of people with psoriasis. Pustules, which are inflamed blemishes filled with pus and surrounded by red skin, can occur anywhere on your body.

Psoriatic Erythroderma

Erythroderma is a type of psoriasis which causes redness and peeling of more than 30% of your body. This advanced stage of psoriasis may cause extreme itchiness and is typically more difficult to treat than other types.

Inverse Psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis affects about 5% of people with psoriasis. Instead of red, scaly patches on joints and skin folds, you have smooth, silvery scales on your elbows, knees, buttocks, or scalp.

Foods that can trigger psoriasis

Eating the right food choices is often the first step in preventing and mediating many illnesses. After all, what we eat has a definite effect on our medical conditions. The same situation applies to psoriasis, with many foods triggering its flare-up. If so, most patients are looking for suggestions regarding the best diet for psoriasis prevention. Additionally, knowing the foods that trigger psoriasis can help prevent the severity of the psoriasis symptoms, reducing discomfort, and helping manage the condition. 

Dairy products and red meat

Eggs, dairy products, and red meat are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, including arachidonic acid. Research proves that the by-products of this acid may result in the creation of psoriatic lesions. If so, people who have psoriasis must avoid red meat, processed meats, bacon, sausage, egg-based dishes, and other dairy products.

Processed foods

High intake of processed foods causes increased calorie consumption, leading to obesity. Additionally, you may suffer from metabolic syndrome and other chronic health conditions. These conditions may cause serious inflammation resulting in psoriasis flareups. The best diet for psoriasis avoids meats, canned vegetables and fruits, and any processed sugar intake such as caffeinated drinks.

Gluten

Having a gluten-free diet can reduce the severity of psoriasis symptoms. Most autoimmune diseases may cause celiac disease responding to the gluten found in proteins. If so, psoriasis patients with heavy gluten intakes may experience increased markers on their bodies. Gluten sensitivity may lead to further complications as well. Thus, for any psoriasis patient with gluten sensitivity, the best choice is to remove gluten-rich foods from their diet completely. They must avoid foods like wheat, malt, rye, barley, noodles, pasta, baked goods, sauces, condiments, and beverages made from these products.

Alcohol intake

Alcohol is a serious psoriasis trigger as it disrupts your immune system. Drinking heavy quantities of alcohol can cause psoriasis flareups due to its impact on your immunity.

Nightshades

Nightshades contain solanine that can trigger serious psoriasis inflammation in many people. The consumption of nightshades thus leads to serious psoriasis flareups. Therefore, it is important to avoid eggplants, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.

What foods can you consume in psoriasis?

Anti-inflammatory diets are the best choice for people who have psoriasis. Moreover, such diets are naturally full of antioxidants and can help reduce oxidative stress. The best diets comprise fruits, vegetables, and other natural foods like berries. Additionally, you may consume brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries apart from other dark fruits.

Fatty fish

A diet high in fatty wish will have a serious anti-inflammatory effect on your body. The fish contains omega-3s that reduce the inflammatory substances in your body. So, adding sardines, cod, trout, and salmon to your diet can help reduce psoriasis.

Nutritional supplements

You may consume nutritional supplements such as vitamin D, vitamin B-12, and others as suggested by your doctor to reduce psoriasis. These nutrients help to reduce the severity of psoriasis-related inflammation.

Heart-healthy oils

Olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, and safflower oil are all rich in antioxidants and omega-3 acids. Consequently, they help in the reduction of inflammation in the body.

Next Steps

It is important to note that psoriasis symptoms involve both the signs that appear on the skin and the deep-rooted ones as well. Usually, the healthy cells are attacked by the immune system causes new cells to develop constantly. However, most people experience cycles of psoriasis. There are weeks with extreme symptoms followed by many days of no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms appear on the elbows and fold areas of the skin, such as armpits and groin.

Leaving your psoriasis untreated can lead to excessive plaque buildup on your body. The plaque can spread and cause serious discomfort. Additionally, it may leave scars throughout the body as well. A person suffering from scalp psoriasis may experience permanent hair loss. Furthermore, there could be irreversible changes to your fingernails, which may fall off due to prolonged psoriasis. Some people develop arthritis along with psoriasis. In this case, they can suffer from joint stiffness and swelling. For such cases, injectable medications are required for the treatment. Without the treatment, the joints can be damaged permanently and may lead to complete disabling of the patient.