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Itchy, Red Patches On The Skin: Do You Have Psoriasis?

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If you develop itchy, red patches on your scalp, elbows, or another area of skin, you may wonder if the condition is contagious or dangerous. Your skin problem may be caused by psoriasis, a condition that affects both men and women. Although psoriasis isn't contagious, it can become bad enough to disfigure, or scar, the skin it affects. To keep your skin and body healthy, it's essential that you learn more about psoriasis.

What's Psoriasis?

In order to keep your skin healthy, your immune system allows skin cells to turnover at a steady rate each month. But sometimes, the immune system overdoes it and causes the cells to rise to the surfaces of your skin faster than normal. The turnover rate often occurs within days instead of months. Instead of shedding or falling off your body, the cells build up until they form thick patches on your elbows, head, and other body locations.

The patches typically appear red with silver-colored scales on their surfaces. Many people develop an intense itch that becomes worse with time. If you scratch the patches, they can turn into painful sores. Infections, severe dry skin, insect bites, and other conditions of the skin can aggravate or trigger psoriasis.

If you develop patches on your skin that may or may not be signs of psoriasis, seek medical advice immediately.

How Do You Know If You Have Psoriasis?

It's a good idea that you allow a dermatologist or doctor to examine your skin carefully. Psoriasis can mimic other diseases and conditions of the skin, including severe dry skin and dandruff. If a doctor does diagnose you with psoriasis, they can begin treatment right away. 

Your treatment for psoriasis may include applying itch creams on your skin. A specialist may also prescribe medications designed to reduce the inflammation in your skin. Anti-inflammatory drugs help prevent the immune system from overreacting during the cell turnover process.  

You can help control your condition at home by moisturizing your skin daily. Keeping your skin moist reduces the dry, itchy feeling you experience from your condition. Because some skincare ingredients may aggravate your skin, a specialist will generally prescribe or recommend the right products to you. Also, avoid using anything new on your skin until a skin doctor approves of it.  

If you would like to learn more about psoriasis or how to treat it effectively, contact a skin specialist or dermatologist today.