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Skincare expert Selene Daly shares how to treat psoriasis and what triggers can make it worse

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Psoriasis is a skin condition which affects between 80-90,000 people in Ireland.

It is a genetically inherent condition which means the skin is making more skin than it should be, which often results in thick, red and scaly plaques over the body.

Not to be confused with dry skin, the disease can also trigger other health complications such as arthritis and diabetes.

RSVP Live caught up with Dermatology Nurse Specialist and RELIFE adviser Selene Daly to get the lowdown on psoriasis – what it is, how to treat it and what triggers to avoid.

What is psoriasis?

“Psoriasis is a disease where the skin is making more skin” Selene explains. “If you can imagine a snake shedding its skin, humans do that too but in a more microscopic way so you don’t see it.”

It takes about six weeks for the dermis (the bottom of your skin) to make new skin, but for people who suffer from psoriasis this process is sped up and they make new skin every three days instead.

Selene says: “These new skin cells that are made are immature and they don’t look like skin cells. They are immature baby skin cells that are pushed up dramatically and rapidly from the bottom of the dermis up to the top. People often say ‘I think I have psoriasis’ but they don’t, a lot of people have a bit of dry scalp, or dry skin on their arms but that’s not actually psoriasis.”

If you suffer from psoriasis, thick, scaly and red plaques can appear all over the body – typically the elbows, keens, shins, and limbs. However, sufferers can also see scale on the scalp, underarms, and breasts.

Psoriasis on elbow

How to look after skin if you suffer from psoriasis

Psoriasis can be painful and irritating, but Selene has some tips you can follow to make sure your skin is being looked after. There are also certain things that can trigger psoriasis that you may have not realised before.

Use soap-free products and moisturise the skin

“First thing I tell all of my patients to do is to use a soap-free wash and moisturising oil to moisturise the skin with. Skincare brand RELIFE Ireland have a great cleanser bath oil that can be used in the shower as well as a hydrating moisturiser. If your skin is scaly and dry you need something super hydrating, RELIFE’s U-Life range with urea is really good. This is really important because if you’re using topical steroids, it’s very important to get the scales off the plaques of psoriasis because medication won’t penetrate the scale there. If you have psoriasis on your scalp, using a medicated shampoo is a really good idea”

Avoid triggers that can worsen psoriasis

“Triggers for psoriasis include consumption of alcohol, stress, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and infections like strep throats or bacterial infections. It’s very important to know these triggers and if you have psoriasis try to avoid them if you can.”

Contact your GP

“It is really important if you have psoriasis to contact your GP who can prescribe something that’s topical or even seek a referral to a hospital-based dermatologist. Have your psoriasis seen by a medical professional because we can actually treat it quite well by using treatments that are only in dermatology units.”

Know your skincare ingredients

“If you have psoriasis, what you shouldn’t use is anything with perfumes, parabens, sodium sulphates as those can trigger off skin reactions.”

Skin problems and answers

Psoriasis can cause other health complications

Some people will only suffer from mild psoriasis, but it can be more severe in other patients. If you have moderate to severe psoriasis, Selene says it is so important to be examined by a medical professional if this is the case because the disease can lead to other health complications.

She said: “30% of people who have arthritis are associated with psoriasis. 50% of people with psoriasis can develop heart disease or diabetes, so it’s very important to be aware that you have an inflammatory skin condition but inflammation is also taking place in your body. It’s a chronic disease so get a referral to a hospital-based dermatologist if it is moderate to severe.”

RELIFE is currently available in almost 300 pharmacies nationwide. For more information, visit www.RELIFE.ie.

https://www.rsvplive.ie/life/health/skincare-expert-selene-daly-shares-22924658

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