What Are the Different Types of Psoriasis?

different types of psoriasis

Psoriasis is essentially an autoimmune condition that develops when your immune system encourages your body to produce new skin cells far more quickly than normal.

Psoriasis is a bit of a “catch all” term as there are actually a few different types of psoriasis that can have their own set of symptoms. This means you can have an entirely different experience of psoriasis compared to someone else who also has the condition, depending on which type you have. It’s also possible to have more than one type of psoriasis at the same time.

Plaque Psoriasis

This is the most common type of psoriasis and shows itself in some of the more traditional symptoms of the condition. This includes red, raised patches of red skin topped with a build up of silver-white scales due to an excess of dead skin cells.

It can often appear on the scalp but it can also develop on other parts of the body too.

It is usually itchy but can also be painful and sore and make the skin crack and even bleed.

Treatment for plaque psoriasis generally involves topical treatments to remove build up of scales and reduce the redness underneath. On the scalp, this can include shampoos containing a combination of coal tar and coconut oil. Elsewhere on the body, corticosteroids may be prescribed, along with treatments that suppress the immune system and reduce the number of skin cells being produced.

Guttate Psoriasis

This type of psoriasis is fairly common in children and young adults and can develop after a bout of strep throat or another infection or illness. It is one of the most common forms of psoriasis after plaque psoriasis.

It is characterised by small, drop or dot shaped lesions. There can be scales on top of these but the end result isn’t as thick or raised up as plaque psoriasis. These symptoms can sometimes disappear as quickly as they developed but they can also come and go in much the same way as most psoriasis types.

Treatments for guttate psoriasis can include topical creams (that sometimes contain steroids), corticosteroids and immune suppressants.

Inverse Psoriasis

This type of psoriasis crops up most commonly in skin folds such as the groin, the underarms and underneath the breasts. Inverse psoriasis tends to be shiny and smooth in its appearance, unlike most other forms of the condition. Another difference is the fact that inverse psoriasis tends not to be dry or raised up in its texture; instead, it is usually moist.

It can accompany other types of psoriasis so you may find that you have it in skin folds and also have another form somewhere else on your body.

Topical creams can be used to tackle inflammation and irritation but treating inverse psoriasis can be tricky given the sensitive nature of some of the areas it develops in. Steroid creams can be a problem for longer term use as they can thin the skin. Other options include treatments that stop the immune system paving the way for psoriasis symptoms and phototherapy (with ultraviolet light) for more severe cases.

Pustular Psoriasis

This type of psoriasis presents itself in the form of pus-filled blisters surrounded by areas of red skin, often on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Although it looks nasty, it’s not contagious. The blisters are actually thought to be filled with white blood cells rather than anything that can be infectious.

Treatment for pustular psoriasis can include topical treatments, phototherapy (with ultraviolet light) and sometimes, immune suppressants.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

This is one of the least common types of psoriasis but it’s by far the most severe kind. It can affect large areas (potentially most of the body) and has an intensely red and fiery look. It tends to be very itchy and can also be seriously painful too. The skin can actually peel off, which is an indication of just how serious this form of psoriasis can be.

If you think you might have developed it, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible as it can potentially be life threatening.

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3 Natural Remedies for Psoriasis

3 natural remedies for psoriasis

When you’re first diagnosed with psoriasis, treatments typically take the form of steroids and other topical treatments that can make symptoms less obvious.

If you don’t want to go down this road and you’d rather see if natural remedies could help you to get some relief from psoriasis, there are a few that have some good potential for reducing the intensity of psoriasis symptoms.

As with all psoriasis treatments, they won’t cure the condition or stop your symptoms appearing but natural treatments can make them less severe and improve your confidence in your skin without needing traditional treatments.

Here are 3 natural remedies that can help psoriasis symptoms:

Honey

Honey can help to reduce inflammation and ease redness and dryness. Because it’s antibacterial and antimicrobial, it can also protect against the risk of infection if areas of your skin that are affected by psoriasis tend to get cracked and sore.

Manuka honey is one of the best options as it has stronger antibacterial and antimicrobial properties than most other types of honey. The higher grades tend to be more expensive but if your budget stretches far enough, the stronger grades are more likely to help your psoriasis symptoms.

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Studies haven’t really looked at the potential of honey as a psoriasis treatment but anecdotal evidence has shown it can make a lot of difference for some people. You might find it helps to keep symptoms to more of a minimum but may not work so well for plaque psoriasis.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another natural remedy that can be applied to psoriasis affected skin and it’s one that can work well for scalp psoriasis too. One of the reasons for this is its intensive moisturizing qualities, which can add some all important hydration to dry, flaky skin. This also helps it to potentially loosen scales on the scalp. Traditional treatments for psoriasis often involve a combination of coal tar and coconut oil for this reason.

coconut oil

If you decide to give this natural remedy a try, your best bet is to choose pure and organic extra virgin coconut oil. It’s a bit more expensive than other types of coconut oil but it’s more likely to have the results you’re hoping for given its higher quality.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is very anti inflammatory thanks to the fact that it contains eugenol, an oil that has incredible qualities including being able to hinder NF-kappaB. This is a cytokine that plays a big part in inflammation and could be one of the culprits for your psoriasis symptoms.

The plus points don’t end there either. Eugenol also has an effect on 5-lipoxygenase enzymes, which are thought to be involved in inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis.

cinammon

Drinking cinnamon tea and adding the spice to cooking and baking  could help you to reduce inflammation and minimize your psoriasis symptoms.

These three natural remedies can help to make your psoriasis symptoms less noticeable if you apply them or consume them on a regular basis. They’re not miracle cures (unfortunately!) but as most psoriasis sufferers know all too well, anything you can do to help your skin to look better is very welcome. And there’s the added bonus too of not having to rely on creams and other more traditionals  treatments that can have side effects.

natural remedies for psoriasis infographic

What Causes Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes?

what causes dark circles and puffy eyes

Dark circles can make you look exhausted and under the weather, even if you’re actually feeling great. A lot of people with dark circles also have puffiness in the undereye area too, which can be a double whammy.

There can be a few different factors that contribute to dark circles and getting rid of them isn’t always as easy as grabbing a few early nights for a bit.

Here are some of the most common reasons why dark circles and puffy undereyes happen, and what you can do to make them less obvious.

Genes

Your genes can play a role in how prominent dark circles are, especially if you have very fair or very thin skin.

The blood vessels in the undereye area will show up more because of this and dark circles will be more obvious. Blood that pools in the undereye area during the night will be particularly noticeable in the morning.

How to fight back: Use more pillows at night can reduce the potential for blood to pool while you’re asleep. If this is one of the main factors behind your dark circles, it can help to reduce them when you wake up.

Age

Dark circles can be more of an issue as you get older and your collagen levels start to deplete. The skin can become thinner as a result and this can make the blood vessels underneath more noticeable.

How to fight back: Retinol based products can help to strengthen collagen but they can be too intense for the delicate eye area. Products that use time-released retinol can be a better choice.

Dehydration

If you’re not drinking enough, it can show itself as dark circles and puffy undereyes. These are both more likely to occur when you’re dehydrated as your body tries to retain as much water as possible.

If you drink a fair amount of alcohol and your diet is high in salt, this can make the problem worse as both are dehydrating.

Alcohol can also make the blood vessels dilate, which makes dark circles more prominent, so it’s definitely one to cut back on if you’re wanting to get rid of them.

How to fight back: Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids, especially water. If you’re drinking alcohol, try to drink water in between every alcoholic drink so the effects aren’t so dehydrating on your body. Cutting back on the amount of salty foods you eat in your diet can also help to make dehydration less likely.

Allergies

If your dark circles are more of an issue at certain times of year, seasonal allergies could be to blame. Allergies encourage the body to produce more histamine and this can encourage the blood vessels to become inflamed and swell.

How to fight back: Taking antihistamines can reduce the effects of this histamine release. If you know what is behind the allergies, taking antihistamines before you come into contact with the allergen can mean that the reaction doesn’t happen or is a lot milder than it would have been and dark circles linked to the allergen will be less of a problem too.

More Tips for Tackling Dark Circles

  • Frozen tea bags and cucumber slices can help to constrict the blood vessels so that dark circles are less noticeable. Sadly, this is only a temporary fix rather than a permanent cure!

 

  • Eye masks can help to soothe and cool the undereye area and constrict the blood vessels too, especially if you keep them in the freezer beforehand for maximum cooling effect. Again, it’s only a short term solution but it can reduce puffiness in particular.

 

  • Sun damage can make dark circles and puffy eyes worse so investing in a good sunscreen that can be used on the undereye area is a good move. Use it every day to protect the delicate undereye area from UV rays and be aware that it isn’t just sunny days that you need to worry about; damage can be done even on cloudy days.

 

  • Use a gentle undereye cleanser that won’t irritate or dry out the undereye area. Some products can be too much for this sensitive area and the lack of hydration can make dark circles and puffy eyes more of a problem.

 

  • As there’s no guaranteed miracle cure for dark circles or puffy eyes, you’re probably still going to need to cover them up as well. Whereas matching concealer to your skin tone is the smartest move with most skin issues, it’s not what you want for dark circles. Colours that are lie across from each other on the colour wheel work to cancel each other out and this can work wonders for making dark circles less obvious. Yellow toned concealer can help to hide dark circles that are more purple in colour, while peach shades can do the same for the blue hues of most dark circles.

The Beauty Benefits of Lavender

The Beautyy benefits of lavender

Lavender has been used for beauty purposes as far back as Ancient Egypt and is a key ingredient in a lot of skincare and haircare products, especially natural ones.

This has a lot to do with the anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties that lavender possesses, which make it a really versatile ingredient in beauty products.

Here are some of the great reasons why lavender should be part of your beauty regime:

#1 – Glowing Skin

Lavender boosts your circulation and improves blood flow. This helps skin cells to get plenty of oxygen and nutrients to keep skin happy and healthy.

Boosting circulation can also help to tone the skin and make it firmer.

#2 – Improving Acne

The fact that lavender is anti inflammatory means it can be an invaluable and underrated tool in the fight against acne, particularly in reducing swelling and redness of acne blemishes. It can also reduce acne scarring.

Lavender is also antiseptic and it can help to fight the bacteria that causes acne so that acne breakouts are less of a problem.

With all of this in mind, you probably won’t be surprised to know that lavender is a common aromatherapy treatment for acne.

#3 – Relieving Eczema

Eczema is another skin condition that can be tackled through lavender. It can help to relieve eczema symptoms, especially the itching side of things.

#4 – Healthy Hair

Lavender can also have a positive effect on the hair and scalp too.

One of the big benefits is its ability to balance oil production so that the scalp is less oily. This is one of the reasons why you’ll find it heavily featured in a lot of natural haircare products designed for oily hair.

It can also add a vibrant, healthy shine to hair so it’s a great choice if your hair is prone to looking dull and lifeless.

#5 Reduced Hair Loss

If you’re struggling with hair loss, you probably feel as though there isn’t anything you can do to tackle it but this is another surprising area that lavender can work wonders with.

One  study showed great potential for using essential oils in treating alopecia areata, a hair loss condition that results in hair falling out in patches.

Lavender was one of the essential oils used in the study and when it’s combined with dry scalp massage, it can also encourage new hair growth too.

How Does Stress Affect Your Skin?

stress and skin

Stress can affect your skin in a lot of ways and can make some common skin problems worse, especially acne, eczema and psoriasis.

It can become a very vicious circle in which your skin becomes a source of anxiety and stress, and this then has an even worse effect on your skin.

Getting stress and anxiety under control can be one of the best things you can do for your skin, especially as it can have a knock on effect on diet, sleep and other factors that can also affect the state of your skin.

Here’s what you need to know about how stress can encourage existing skin conditions to flare up and have a helping hand in why they occur in the first place.

The Mind-Body Connection

Research has shown that people with skin conditions often experience stress and anxiety too and this isn’t too surprising when you think about the psychological effects that skin conditions can have on self esteem and body image.

Most of us know how quickly spots could zap your self confidence as a teenager and this feeling can be a whole lot worse if you have bad acne as an adult or you develop eczema or psoriasis on areas of the face and body that are obvious to other people.

Anxiety also be one of the culprits for fuelling skin conditions, and stress hormones play a big part in this, particularly where acne is concerned.

When your body produces more cortisol as part of the fight or flight response, your skin responds by producing more oil and this can pave the way for acne. If you notice that you tend to break out more during stressful periods, this is one of the reasons why it happens.

Stress can encourage us to eat comfort foods, often of the sugary and starchy kind. These kind of high GI (glycaemic index) foods have been linked to acne breakouts.

Stress can affect sleep patterns and this can have a knock on effect on your skin. Levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) decrease while you sleep but of course, this doesn’t happen to the same extent if you struggle to sleep well. High levels of cortisol can make existing skin conditions worse, especially eczema and psoriasis.

Stress can encourage tic behaviours such as picking at your skin or pulling your hair. These type of actions can lead to scarring and even permanent hair loss. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why people engage in tic behaviours but it may be that it’s a type of coping behaviour.

Tips for Dealing with the Effects of Stress on Your Skin

Unfortunately, we can’t avoid stress completely (especially in modern life!) but we can change how we respond to it.

Here are some tips for reducing your stress levels and helping your skin to be less affected by the effects of stress:

Keep up with your skincare routine: When you’re feeling frazzled and anxious, your routine can quickly fall apart and you may find yourself forgetting to take care of your skin.

Exercise regularly: Exercise can reduce stress levels and releases ‘feel good’ endorphins that boost your mood and wellbeing. Even a quick walk can be invigorating, clear your head and help you to feel bit better.

Set aside some ‘me’ time: Lots of us don’t take time for self care and this can affect your mental health and potentially physical health too. Having some ‘me’ time can be anything from enjoying a relaxing bath to spending time reading a book. The important part is that you’re doing something that benefits your mental and physical wellbeing. Even exercise and sleep are forms of self care if you look at it this way!

Set some boundaries: Some stress can be caused by not feeling able to say no to people or reject situations that aren’t going to be good for your wellbeing. Don’t feel bad or guiilty about setting boundaries for yourself and being more assertive. You may actually find that people respect you more for doing this (assuming you tread the line between being assertive and being aggressive!).

Hypnotherapy: If self care measures don’t help as much as you hope, you may want to try a more permanent way to change your response to stress and anxiety. Hypnotherapy taps into the unconscious mind, which makes it more powerful for changing the way that you think and feel. If you don’t deal very well with stress, it can help you to react in a healthier and more positive way so that the effects aren’t so evident in your skin.

 

 

How to Treat 6 Common Skin Complaints

How to Treat 6 Common Skin Complaints

If you regularly curse your ‘problem’ skin and wish you were lucky enough to have a glowing, flawless complexion, you’re definitely not alone!

Far from being something that we leave behind in our teenage years, ‘problem’ skin is a common frustration for a lot of adults too and can cause a lot of distress and anxiety.

Here’s what you need to know about 6 common types of skin issues and what you can do to treat them, including blackheads, acne, pigmentation, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.

Blackheads

Blackheads are tiny black bumps on your skin that form when oil and dead skin cells clog together in your pores and interact with oxygen. This is what causes them to be black – it’s not dirt, as people assume!

It’s always tempting to try to squeeze blackheads to get rid of them but you can damage the skin by doing this. If you can’t resist, it’s a good idea to open the pores up through steaming first so that there is less potential for problems.

While its true that blackheads are not caused by dirt, a good cleansing routine can help to prevent them by keeping your pores relatively clean so they don’t clog as easily. Cleansing once often isn’t enough and will only get rid of excess oil and make up whereas a second cleanse can go a bit deeper.

Acne

We often think of acne as being a facial problem but it can also affect the neck, chest, back and shoulders.

As well as the obvious red pus-filled bumps, acne can also come in the form of whiteheads, blackheads and bumps that form under the surface.

There can be a few different reasons why acne develops and the underlying factor plays a big role in how it is treated. This is why it can be important to look at the bigger picture rather than just looking to treat the acne itself.

Diet can sometimes play a part, and stress is another potential factor that can make acne worse.

Products that are targeted at spot prone skin can actually make acne worse if they strip the skin of vital moisture. This can encourage your skin to go into overdrive and produce more oils, which makes the situation even worse.

A gentle skin care regime that doesn’t dry out your skin can be a much better bet for acne prone skin.

Pigmentation

If you have pigmentation, you’ll have dark patches of skin that are usually uneven. This happens when the skin cells that create melanin start to produce more pigment.

There can be hormonal factors involved (for example, during pregnancy or if you’re taking oral contraceptives) and other potential causes include sun damage and post inflammation pigmentation (which can occur after an injury or sun damage and can also be linked to acne and rosacea).

You can minimise your potential for pigmentation with a good sunscreen, which can protect against sun damage.

Pigmentation peels can be useful for treating pigmentation and making it less likely to come back again.

Rosacea

Rosacea causes facial flushing which can be quite severe. It is a vascular condition that encourages blood vessels in the face to swell and this is what causes the redness associated with rosacea.

The redness can be exaggerated if you get too hot or too cold, if you eat spicy foods or drink alcohol so many people with rosacea avoid these factors. Stress can also make the condition worse.

Eczema

If you have eczema, your skin will be dry, red and itchy and prone to rashes in the affected areas. It’s common on the elbows and knees but can also occur on other parts of the body, including the face.

Eczema symptoms can come and go and can be linked to certain triggers. Some people find that it gets worse when they’re stressed, when they’re in environments that dry out the skin, when they wear ‘scratchy’ clothes or if their skin comes into contact with relatively harsh soaps or cleaning products, for example.

Mild toiletries that don’t contain lots of fragrance, colour and chemicals can reduce potential for eczema flare-ups that are linked to products that irritate the skin. You may also want to avoid using fabric softeners and harsh laundry products as these are also eczema triggers for some people.

When flare-ups happen, hydrocortisone creams can help to take the fire out of the itch and settle your skin down again.

If you’d rather go down the natural route, adding some oats to your bath water can help to relieve itching. Just make sure the water isn’t too hot as this can dry your skin and make eczema symptoms worse.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is usually characterised by red skin and silvery-white patches of dry, flaky, scaly skin. It’s caused by the skin cells turning over far more quickly than normal, which can lead to a build up of ‘scales’ on the skin.

As with eczema, psoriasis symptoms can come and go. Stress, cold temperatures and certain foods can be potential triggers for psoriasis in some people.

Keeping your skin well moisurised is key as the symptoms get worse when your skin is very dry

Eating more “good” fats in your diet can help to reduce inflammation, including oily fish, nuts and seeds.

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