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Woman with psoriasis on her skin scratching her arm.

What is psoriasis? And how do you treat it?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes recurring raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. An outbreak of these patches is often accompanied by itchiness, irritation, redness and hypersensitivity.

Outbreaks commonly occur on the scalp, elbows, knees, hands and feet, but it can also appear on other areas of the body. The majority of people with psoriasis will notice symptoms between the ages of 15 and 35.

The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, but it is known that the immune system and genetics play a big role. With psoriasis, the immune system is triggered mistakenly, causing skin cells to regenerate at a rapid rate – about every seven days as opposed to 28 to 30 days – building up layers of skin on top of each other, which leads to the formation of the psoriasis lesions.

The National Psoriasis Foundation lists the following as triggers for psoriasis outbreaks:

• Stress
• Injury to skin
• Infection
• Medications
• Environmental factors
• Luckily, there are a few ways to help control the symptoms of this frustrating skin condition:

• Talk to a doctor. There are a number of prescription medicines that can alleviate psoriasis symptoms and outbreaks.
• Start using a retinol. Retinol helps normalize cell turnover, reducing the amount of impacted skin cells on the surface of the skin.
• Find a redness reducer. A serum that is shown to reduce the appearance of redness can dramatically improve how noticeable psoriasis breakouts are.
• Address inflammation. Inflammation only makes matters worse. Incorporate a topical hydrocortisone with additional soothing ingredients to tackle inflammation and irritation at once.
• Add extra hydration. Excessive dryness can lead to cracking and bleeding in areas of psoriasis patches. A therapeutic hydrator can help prevent that by improving the skin’s barrier function.