Where Can Psoriasis Occur?
You spend so much time taking care of your skin, cleansing, applying the best skincare products, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays by liberally applying sunscreen in every season. When your dedication to your skin’s health and appearance is marred by the appearance of a red, scaly patch, it can be very upsetting. Especially when your dermatologist diagnoses psoriasis, which is currently not curable. As an inflammatory skin disease, psoriasis arrives most unwelcomely, and then you live by the cycles of flareups and gradual healing – a time that can have you covering up and feeling out of sorts.
The amount of discomfort you feel, and the embarrassment you may endure, is greatly affected by where your psoriasis occurs on your body. The most common locations of psoriasis are: the scalp, knees, elbows and torso, notably the lower back. But psoriasis can develop anywhere on your body, including your nails, palms, soles, genitals, and very infrequently on the face. Often the lesions appear symmetrically, which means in the same place on the right and left sides of the body.
You may be among those whose psoriasis occurs on your back or on your legs, spots that are easier to cover up with clothing, or yours may peek out of the top of your shirts, extending onto your neck, or on your forearms, putting you in ¾ sleeves during summer. Psoriasis on your scalp can be visible through your hair, and leave copious amounts of white flakes on your shoulders. Any part of the body has its psoriasis discomfort and appearance challenges, and some sufferers say that when their psoriasis flares up, they experience depression.
It can be very upsetting to know that psoriasis is a chronic immune system condition. It occurs when a person’s immune system misfires and skin cells begin to regenerate at an excessively rapid rate. Normal skin cells are created in the lower layers of the skin, then rise to the surface as they mature and are shed over a period of 28 to 30 days. When someone has psoriasis, however, the cells are created, mature and rise, and are shed in less than a week. Because those new cells can’t be sloughed off quickly enough, they accumulate on the surface of the skin, forming a raised layer of inflamed and scaly patches. And some people with psoriasis also develop a related form of joint pain known as psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis episodes tend to flare up in cycles, leaving you with the unnerving mindset of worrying when your next flare-up will occur, and will it occur before an important family celebration, a big career-making work event, a job interview, a charitable gala for which you are front and center as a member of the board.
Living in fear of your psoriasis flare-ups makes for an anxiety- and stress-ridden existence, which then increases the odds that your psoriasis will return. And the moment when you see those dry, raised, red skin lesions, you are reminded, ‘Something is wrong with me,’ or ‘I have a disease.’ And perhaps equally distressing: ‘Everyone will see.’
It’s extremely difficult to live with a chronic disease of any kind, particularly one that creates visible signs that your system is ‘not quite right.’ But take heart in knowing that your dermatologist has ways to treat and lesson the symptoms of many kinds of psoriasis. Many women and men who hid or dealt with their psoriasis on their own, with hats, high necks, long skirts and long sleeves, and perhaps with over the counter creams that only frustrated them or created the mildest of improvement, find themselves experiencing improvement in their psoriasis appearance and discomfort, via top-quality prescription creams and other treatments. Soon, those patches fade, and with your dermatologist’s help, you learn that you are not powerless, that your psoriasis can be managed, and that there are many promising therapies, including newer biologic drugs, on the way.