Psoriasis is a skin condition that can cause skin redness, irritation and thick and flaky silver-white patches called scales, according to PubMedHealth. Psoriasis is an autoimmune-inherited disorder. Several factors may trigger an attack of psoriasis, including lack of sunlight, sunburn, stress, severe alcohol consumption, dry skin, bacterial or viral infections and certain medications.
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Vitamin Deficiencies and Psoriasis
Vitamin A and D are important for maintenance of healthy skin. Deficiencies in these vitamins can trigger a psoriasis attack. Patients with psoriasis should increase intake of foods rich in vitamin A and D. Natural sources of vitamin A include squash, beef liver, fortified foods, whole milk, cheese, cod liver oil, halibut fish oil, pumpkins and carrots. Natural sources of vitamin D include cheese, fortified milk, fish, oysters, cream and butter. Doctors may prescribe prescription medicines containing retinoids, such as vitamin D or vitamin A, to treat psoriasis, according to Mayo Clinic. Vitamin A retinoids help normalize DNA activity in skin cells, which reduces inflammation. Vitamin D analogues such as calcipotriene are used to slow down the growth of skin cells in patients with psoriasis.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Patients with psoriasis experience symptoms such as dry skin covered with silver-white patches, flaky skin, redness of the skin, thick raised skin, joint pain and itching, genital lesions in males, nail thickening, dents on the surface of the nails, yellow-brown spots on the nails and separation of the nail from the base, and severe dandruff on the scalp, according to Mayo Clinic.
Treatment of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic, incurable condition and treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms and preventing infections. Mild to moderate psoriasis is treated using topical creams and ointments. Severe psoriasis is treated using creams, oral medications and light therapy, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients with severe psoriasis may receive methotrexate or cyclosporine drugs so as to suppress the body's immune response.
Doctors recommend daily baths for patients with psoriasis. Oatmeal baths soothe the skin and also help loosen scales, according to PubMedHealth. Patients should avoid scrubbing the skin too hard, as this could irritate the skin and trigger a psoriasis attack. Patients should also try and get as much sun exposure as possible. Sunscreens should be used to prevent sunburn.