Psoriasis is a skin disorder that appears as raised, reddish-pink areas covered with silvery scales and red borders. Psoriasis usually appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, groin, and lower back. It “comes and goes,” and may appear as a few spots or involve large areas. It is not contagious, either to other body parts or to other people. More than 6 million people in the United States have psoriasis, which is seen in both sexes and all age groups. It can be triggered by emotional stress and can run in families. Most cases are not painful, although severe ones can be. Approximately 5 percent of psoriasis sufferers develop psoriatic arthritis, which involves painful and swollen joints. Signs and symptoms of psoriasis include: Raised skin lesions, deep pink with red borders and silvery surface scales, may be cracked and painful in severe cases, blisters oozing with pus (usually occurs on the palms or soles), pitted, discolored, and possibly thickened fingernails or toenails, itchy skin in some people, joint pain (psoriatic arthritis) in some people.
The cause of psoriasis is unknown, and most natural doctors consider it an autoimmune disease, but researchers do know that it involves a higher-than-normal rate of skin cell, production. Dead skin cells accumulate and form thick patches. Some researchers believe there is a genetic
component, and that a faulty immune system may be involved. Several underlying factors may trigger the disorder or flare-ups, including the following: Emotional stress, obesity, skin injuries or sunburn, streptococcal (strep) infection (symptoms sometimes first appear 2 weeks after strep throat), cold or dry air, certain drugs (gold, lithium, beta-blockers), alcohol.
A naturopathic approach to treating someone with skin issues, regardless of the skin issue is usually very similar since we know that what is going on outside the skin is a direct reflection of what is going on inside the intestines. Therefore, although the exact protocol with certainly depend on the individual, a 4 ‘R’ gut restoration program as described in the gastrointestinal section is most commonly prescribed. Some skin conditions are more immune system related like Impetigo and scleroderma in which case an approach similar to that in the autoimmune/infection section may be prescribed. Listed below are some specific details in regards to some of the more common skin issues I see at the clinic, however, this is by no means a complete list of all of the skin conditions I have seen people with.