Psoriasis: symptoms, causes and treatment

Psoriasis: symptoms, causes and treatment

Psoriasis: symptoms, causes and treatment

Inflammation, redness, and scaly skin are all signs of one thing: psoriasis. This dreadful skin condition doesn’t discriminate – it can affect everyone. If you live with psoriasis, you’ll know that it isn’t easy. Practically anything can trigger a flare-up; a change in the weather, stress, and even physical injury.

You’ll also know about the sheer volume of treatments available. From psoriasis cream, to more… novel methods that claim to be a cure for psoriasis, the list is endless. But is psoriasis curable? Well, the jury’s still out on that – scientists are currently working towards learning more about the condition. Thankfully, with the proper skincare products, and some lifestyle changes, people with psoriasis can manage the condition, curing down on psoriasis triggers.

At Poko, we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: all skin is good skin. However, we also understand that psoriasis symptoms can put a damper on your daily life. Because of this, we’ve formulated a selection of skincare products that work to aid its symptoms. Suitable for all skin types, and all types of psoriasis, these products are made with natural ingredients, to give your skin exactly what it needs. Whether your skin needs a moisture boost, or a little TLC after a flare-up, we’re here to help. Browse our selection of skincare products for psoriasis right here.

According to, over 125 million people worldwide live with psoriasis. Therefore, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone! In fact, psoriasis is also commonly associated with a number of other conditions, the most common being:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Heart disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Type-2 diabetes

Therefore, if you live with one or more of these conditions, it’s likely that you also experience psoriasis.

Psoriasis types:

It’s important to understand that not all forms of psoriasis are created equally. In fact, there are five different types of it, which we’ll break down for you here:

    • Erythrodermic psoriasis: With this form of psoriasis, scales can cover large areas of the body, giving it an almost sunburned appearance. During a flare-up, people with erythrodermic psoriasis could feel unwell and experience fevers. Thankfully, this form of psoriasis is fairly rare!
    • Guttate psoriasis: Fairly common among children, you can identify guttate psoriasis through its appearance: look for small, pink spots. Generally, you’ll find these spots on the arms, legs, and torso.
    • Inverse psoriasis: When you think of psoriasis, you likely picture inverse psoriasis. Here, you can expect areas of inflamed skin, shiny and red in appearance. Flare-ups commonly occur in skin folds – under the armpits or breasts, for example. This can also occur around the groin.
    • Plaque psoriasis: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 80% of people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis! This makes it one of the most common (if not the most common) forms of the condition. To identify it, look for whitish-silver scales or patches on the skin, usually on the scalp, elbows, or knees.
    • Pustular psoriasis: By far one of the most frustrating forms of psoriasis, this version involves redness and inflammation, peppered with pus-filled blisters. If you have pustular psoriasis, however, it usually occurs on smaller areas of the body, usually on your feet, or the palms of your hands.

What is psoriasis?

A common skin condition, psoriasis affects millions of people worldwide. But what does psoriasis look like? It can take on many different appearances – from thick, scaly patches on the skin in shades of red and pink, to smaller bumps flat against the skin. With psoriasis, skin is commonly affected on the scalp, elbows, and knees.

A psoriasis rash can usually last anywhere from a few days to weeks on end, making it a difficult condition to treat or pin down. Thankfully, there are ways to treat symptoms and alleviate the itching, burning feeling associated with a flare-up. Therefore, as skincare and dermatological techniques advance, living with psoriasis can only get easier. While as a skin condition, psoriasis can flare-up at the most inopportune times, the remission periods can also be extremely lengthy – sometimes lasting for months, or even years!

So, does psoriasis itch? It really depends on the type of psoriasis (we’ll get to that later!). However, a flare-up can definitely be on the itchy side, with certain areas of the skin turning red and inflamed. When exposed to extreme heat, cold, or dryness, this can turn itchy – but as with most other skin conditions, it’s important to resist the urge to scratch or pick at the skin.

What causes psoriasis?

While psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition, doctors and dermatologists are still at a loss, when it comes to identifying its causes. Based on research, however, we can now conclude that psoriasis can stem from two different factors – your genetics, and your immune system. There are several common questions about the causes of psoriasis, and we’ll aim to answer them all.

First, is psoriasis an autoimmune disease? You might have heard psoriasis classified as an “autoimmune condition”. While there are multiple autoimmune conditions, some less severe than others, psoriasis functions differently, as it affects the skin. Here, your white blood cells begin to attack skin cells. This, in turn, speeds up the skin cell production process; they develop too quickly, forming under the skin. What starts off as dryness or dullness can quickly turn into skin cells clustering into the skin’s surface. This results in cracks and flakes – common symptoms of psoriasis.

If you live with psoriasis, and have a family member who does too, you might have asked, “Is psoriasis genetic?” Well, by now, we know that psoriasis can stem from your genetics. An immediate family member – like a biological parent, for example – with psoriasis can often mean that you could have a predisposition to the condition. However, this is a fairly rare occurrence. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, genetic psoriasis only accounts for about three percent of all cases.

So, is psoriasis hereditary? Potentially – in that an immediate family member with psoriasis could mean that you’ll also have the condition. However, we don’t have the scientific evidence to back this up for now. As dermatologists and researchers further delve into the condition, we’ll be able to conclude whether or not psoriasis is a biological condition.

Psoriasis causes – many of which are yet to be discovered – are very different from psoriasis triggers. Let’s unpack these triggers, and try and understand how to spot them.

What triggers a psoriasis flare-up?

Science indicates that apart from your immune system and your genetics, identifying the cause of psoriasis can be difficult. However, if you live with the condition, you’ll know that certain things can trigger a psoriasis flare-up. Let’s dive into what can cause your skin to devolve into a psoriasis flare-up.

  • Too much alcohol: If you’ve been reaching for a glass of wine a little too often, you could see an increase in flare-up frequency. To avoid this, consider cutting down on the alcohol. Instead, try a mocktail – or commit to increasing your water intake. After all, when you cut down on alcohol, the benefits extend much further than flare-up control!
  • An infection of some sort: While this might sound a little vague, there’s a method to our madness. Since psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, an infection can often push your immune system to the limit. This, in turn, can trigger yet another flare-up.
  • Physical injury: Similarly to an infection, a scratch, cut, or scrape on your skin can cause your immune system to act up.
  • Some forms of medication: Sometimes, medication can trigger a psoriasis flare-up. If you experience this, you don’t have to live with it! Instead, speak with your doctor, who can then help you find an alternative.
  • Stress: We’re living in unprecedented times, which means that stress levels are high. However, this might not be the best possible state for people with psoriasis. This is because high-stress situations can often cause (or exacerbate) flare-ups.

While doctors might not be able to help, with it comes to curing psoriasis, the situation is certainly manageable. Therefore, take these factors into account, as you can control some of these situations more than others. By making certain lifestyle changes, you’ll be able to avoid yet another flare-up, making your condition that much more workable.

Psoriasis-related myths:

We live in the era of easily accessible information – no matter the topic. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are several myths surrounding psoriasis. If you’ve ever typed, “How to cure psoriasis permanently?”, then you might have come across some of these myths yourself! At Poko, we want to help dispel these myths, so that you can understand your skin better. When you understand your skin better, you’ll be able to give it what it needs – and get to grips with the general situation.

Myth #1: Psoriasis is contagious

If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering, “Is psoriasis dangerous?”, or if it’s contagious, then fear not, we’re here to answer all your questions. So, is psoriasis contagious at all? Absolutely not – the condition isn’t at all contagious; you can’t contract it through physical contact with someone else. Plus, if you properly manage psoriasis, you’ll learn that the condition isn’t dangerous or life-threatening either.

Myth #2: You can cure psoriasis

Is psoriasis curable? Well, no – not at the moment. While doctors and scientists are working hard to come up with a cure for psoriasis and all its forms, there’s no explicit treatment meant to “cure” it. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to suffer in scaly silence. In fact, there are several ways to manage its symptoms: from psoriasis cream, to systemic medications. People with severe psoriasis can also avail of treatments like phototherapy, which could promote healthy skin cell growth.

Myth #3: It’s an adult-only condition

Sure, psoriasis might be fairly common among adults – especially those of us who have to live with it for the rest of our lives. However, it doesn’t solely affect adults. In fact, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, some people experienced their first flare-up at the tender age of 15! Plus, children as young as ten years old have been diagnosed with the condition. Therefore, it doesn’t solely affect adults.

Myth #4: Isn’t psoriasis just dry skin?

Contrary to popular belief, psoriasis isn’t just dry skin – but we understand why you might think that! After all, many psoriasis symptoms are commonly associated with those of dry skin: dryness, flaking, and dullness, to name a few. However, the two conditions are entirely different. As an autoimmune condition, psoriasis encourages the growth of even more skin cells, speeding through the process at an adverse rate. While hydration can help, it’s not exactly a long-term treatment option.

Myth #5: A dietary change can cure psoriasis

As we’ve established earlier, there’s no explicit cure for psoriasis. However, it’s important to understand that a balanced diet could certainly play a role in minimising flare-up frequency. In addition to this, we know that excess alcohol consumption can cause psoriasis flare-ups. While no diet in the world will help reduce flare-up frequency, be sure to stick to a balanced one, as this will help ensure that you meet your nutritional needs.

What are some common psoriasis symptoms?

There are several psoriasis-related symptoms. If you think you have psoriasis, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or a dermatologist. This is because when it comes to psoriasis, rosacea also shares common symptoms. Therefore, to differentiate between the two, and to understand if you truly have psoriasis, it’s best to speak with a licensed professional. They’ll be able to help you form a diagnosis, and point you in the direction of the best possible treatment. However, if you think you have psoriasis, look out for these common symptoms:

  • Dry, cracked skin. While this might seem like dry skin at first, no amount of moisturiser will soothe it. Bleeding in between cracks isn’t uncommon here, either.
  • Itchiness. Is psoriasis itchy? It certainly can be, but differentiating between a general itch and actual psoriasis can be difficult. Look out for burning and soreness on top of the itching. If this is the case, it could be psoriasis.
  • Redness. One of the most common psoriasis-related symptoms, look out for reddened skin peppered with thick, greyish scales. In children, the red spots and scales can both appear smaller. Still, keep an eye out for psoriasis on arms, or psoriasis on eyelids.
  • Stiff or swollen joints. For people with psoriasis, arthritis is often the next step. Therefore, by taking your joints into account, you’ll be able to understand whether or not you have arthritis, and how you can address this. In fact, stiff or swollen joints could also signal a flare-up!
  • Thick or pitted nails. You might think this sounds a little strange, but psoriasis can affect your nails. In fact, nail psoriasis can cause your nails to appear different from what you’re used to. Signs of fingernail or toenail psoriasis include crumbling, brittle nails, separation from the nail bed, or ridged nail growth. 

Can anything help with psoriasis symptoms?

While there isn’t a proper cure for psoriasis (at least, not yet), there are certain ingredients you can avail of to help with the symptoms. With consistency, these ingredients could help ease discomfort from the condition. Some of them include:

Aloe vera juice

Packed full of nutrients, aloe vera juice contains a selection of antioxidants to encourage healthy skin cell growth. Plus, it’s rich in anti-inflammatories. This, in turn, could help minimise the symptoms of a flare-up. Over time, it could also help reduce flare-up frequency.

Apricot kernel oil

Generally, when you live with psoriasis, doctors recommend increasing your intake of healthy fats, like omega-3 and omega-6. While your diet might include this, you can also apply fatty acids as a topical. Apricot kernel oil contains omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 in spades, making it the perfect ingredient to ease psoriasis symptoms.

Capsicum oleoresin

It’s no secret that psoriasis flare-ups can be extremely painful. Thankfully, capsicum oleoresin is an excellent, all-natural way to tackle this. It works to gently warm the skin, helping to relieve the aches and pains associated with a flare-up.


Colder weather can often reduce your skin’s hydration levels, and inadvertently trigger a flare-up. Here’s where glycerin can come in handy! It works as a humectant, locking moisture into your skin. However, it also pulls double duty, as it nourishes the skin with its combination of plant-derived sugars. In addition to this, it helps soothe irritated skin, so it could help relieve the redness and irritation associated with a psoriasis flare-up.

Jojoba oil

It’s hydrating, antibacterial, and hypoallergenic – is there nothing jojoba oil can’t do? Plus, it’s a brilliant addition to your skincare routine, especially if you have psoriasis. Due to its vitamin E content, it could be an effective way to promote healing. Therefore, if you experience the cracked skin commonly associated with psoriasis, jojoba oil could be a great way to help!

Dealing with flare-ups, and what not to do:

Going through a psoriasis flare-up can be extremely difficult. It’s itchy, it’s painful, and the flakes and scales do nothing for one’s self-esteem. However, it’s important to stick to a certain routine during a flare-up, and focus on your skin. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your skin is cared for, and that you can identify and gently address symptoms as they crop up.

At Poko, we want to help you get through a flare-up to the best of our ability. Therefore, we’ve put together a small list of what you shouldn’t do – no matter how tempting it may seem! Remember, dealing with a flare-up is a marathon, not a sprint, so despite the urge to scratch, don’t!

Don’t scratch (or pick, or physically exfoliate)

We know, we know. This can be extremely tempting – especially at the start of a flare-up. However, it’s important to keep your hands (and fingernails) to yourself. If you give into the urge to itch, this could cause minor lacerations on your skin. Often, the skin under the scales is raw and delicate. Exposing this to the elements before it’s ready could result in an infection – which adds a brand-new layer to the situation.

Don’t ignore a flare-up

Mariah Carey once famously said, “I don’t see you. You don’t exist to me.” While this invaluable piece of advice can carry us through some difficult times, it’s definitely not the way to deal with a psoriasis flare-up. Instead of ignoring the first sign of a flare-up, take it in stride and anticipate what your skin might need. Add a cream for psoriasis – like our Hempsoriasis Balm – to your skincare routine, to encourage a healthy moisture barrier, and to help avoid the worst of it.

Don’t reach for that steroid cream

It’s likely that you have a bottle or tube of steroid cream, from your last intense flare-up. However, we’d recommend steering clear of this, if you can. In fact, we’d recommend putting down the steroid cream, unless your doctor or dermatologist expressly says that it’s okay to do so. This is because, over time, steroid cream can damage your skin by thinning it out. Therefore, if your flare-up is mild, or manageable, consider using a natural alternative instead!

Eczema vs. psoriasis

When it comes to identifying psoriasis, eczema is an entirely different ballgame. Thankfully, exploring the differences between the two can be pretty simple – as long as you know what to look for. Generally, eczema occurs in the crooks of the arms and in the bends of the knees. Therefore, if you’re experiencing cracking and dryness on the inside of your elbows, or the back of your knees, it could very well be eczema.

Additionally, while psoriasis is commonly associated with large grey and silver scales, eczema isn’t. Instead, eczema often takes the form of peeling skin, a blister, or a callus. If you’re having trouble differentiating between the two conditions, consider visiting a dermatologist, or a skin specialist. They’re trained to figure out the difference between the two conditions, and can more accurately help you identify if you have psoriasis or eczema.

Psoriasis on different parts of the body

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it has to be said. Psoriasis can affect all areas of the body, and treatment for different body parts can greatly differ. After all, you wouldn’t use a general body balm on your face, and vice versa! We’ve put together a non-exhaustive list of different body parts where psoriasis can strike, and what to do about it.

Scalp psoriasis

What is scalp psoriasis, really? It’s commonly confused with dandruff, but scalp psoriasis often results in far larger flakes. Look out for raised, reddish patches on your scalp – often in more than one place. These patches can pop up on your forehead, or behind your ears, too. On its own, psoriasis cannot cause hair loss. However, if you have a tendency to pick or scratch at your scalp, then this can result in hair fall. Therefore, it’s important not to scratch your scalp during a flare-up.

Thankfully, if you’re looking for scalp psoriasis treatment, you have multiple options. Simply avail of a medicated shampoo, foam, or conditioner. For mild scalp psoriasis, use a diluted form of these products and wait to feel the difference!

Psoriasis under arms

Psoriasis can affect your arms in a big way. Generally, psoriasis on arms or under them is inverse psoriasis, which we referred to earlier. Exacerbated by sweat and friction, this condition can be extremely comfortable and painful to deal with. To address this, be sure to shower often, and keep the areas dry. You can also avail of medicated creams from your doctor, which will help reduce inflammation. Generally, using coconut oil for psoriasis under arms is a common home remedy; however, it can also be messy and comedogenic, so we’d recommend opting for medically-savvy options instead.

Psoriasis on back

A psoriasis flare-up can affect your lower back, causing scaling, itchiness, and inflammation. To combat this, keep the area aired out and dry – a cotton-blend t-shirt should do the trick to wick away sweat. A medicated topical could also help speed up the healing process.

Psoriasis in feet

Psoriasis on the soles of the feet is a fairly rare occurrence. However, it can be extremely painful – what with the pressure we put on our feet, on a daily basis. In this case, try speaking to a doctor. They’ll be able to recommend a prescription-strength anti-inflammatory option, both oral or topical, depending on the severity of the situation.

Psoriasis on palms

Also known as palmoplantar psoriasis, this type of psoriasis is rather painful. Here, flare-ups can also be quite frequent, especially since we tend to wash and sanitise our hands on a regular basis. However, with a few lifestyle changes and the correct skin-friendly topicals, flare-ups related to psoriasis on the hands can be avoided altogether.

Psoriasis on nose

A psoriasis flare-up in or around the nose is extremely rare. With that said, it can still occur – especially during a particularly bad flare-up. To address this, consider gentle, skin-friendly topicals to help address symptoms. Look for natural ingredients like aloe vera juice and glycerin to keep your skin balanced and hydrated.

Psoriasis in ears

A flare-up can sometimes affect your ears – both outside and inside the ear canal. Here, we’d recommend a milder approach to treat flare-up symptoms, especially since the ears are so delicate. First, it’s important to speak to a doctor, as in-ear psoriasis will most likely require ear drops to help ease inflammation and itching.

Psoriasis elbow

Psoriasis can commonly affect the elbows – especially during a flare-up. Redness, itching, and scales are all common symptoms, and thankfully, they can usually be handled by a good topical or two. Consider a hydrating option, packed full of gentle ingredients, to help reinforce your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Psoriasis on face

Psoriasis on the face can be a little difficult to deal with. Generally, the skin on our face is far more sensitive and delicate than the skin on our bodies. Therefore, dealing with a flare-up on the face could require a psoriasis face cream – made specifically for the face. Another, more basic option, could help with the flare-up. However, it might clog pores and result in breakouts, adding another layer to the entire situation.

How to cure psoriasis

Unfortunately, there’s no real way to cure psoriasis. However, with proper psoriasis treatment, you can manage the condition and cut down on flare-up frequency. Upon first receiving your diagnosis, your doctor might go over the ins and outs of a psoriasis diet with you. This is because some food and drink can increase the chance of a flare-up. Alcohol, citrus, and dairy are all connected to increased flare-up frequency. However, this doesn’t mean you have to completely cut them out of your diet. Instead, opt for a healthy, balanced diet – by keeping everything in moderation, you should see fewer flare-ups, and clearer skin.

Many people also swear by light therapy for psoriasis. But does using a UV lamp for psoriasis really help the situation? Well, science indicates that UVB rays could slow the growth of skin cells, and therefore, reduce flare-up frequency. However, as with every other treatment option, it’s important to be consistent. We’d recommend speaking with a skincare professional or a dermatologist, before embarking on any sort of UVB treatment. By consulting with a professional, you can ensure that you’re on the right path to safely address flare-ups and encourage healthier skin. 

Vitamin D is yet another common treatment for psoriasis. This all comes down to its properties – with consistent use, and in sufficient amounts, vitamin D helps strengthen the immune system. By now, we know that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Therefore, by availing of a vitamin D cream for psoriasis, you could see an improvement in your skin.

What is the best cream to treat psoriasis?

Looking for a psoriasis cream in the UK can be difficult – especially with the endless list of options. Thankfully, with the offerings from Poko, you can ensure that your skin is perfectly hydrated and cared for. We offer the best cream for psoriasis in the UK, in the form of our Hempsoriasis Balm. In this jar, you’ll find a gentle option, packed full of natural ingredients to help you address common psoriasis-related symptoms. Therefore, with Poko, addressing psoriasis symptoms doesn’t have to be difficult, painful, or time-consuming. The next time you’re looking to address the symptoms of psoriasis in the UK, you know just where to find us!

Key Takeaways

Sure, living with psoriasis can be difficult – especially if you’re in the midst of a flare-up. However, it’s important to remember that there are several different ways to cope. Generally, you can manage mild flare-ups yourself, in the comfort of your own home. Opt for gentle, natural skincare products that can reinforce your natural moisture barrier, while working to slough off the dead skin. Over time, these options will also help encourage healthier skin, too.

However, if your flare-up starts to look a little more severe, consult with a doctor or a dermatologist. It’s important that you do this; you don’t have to deal with it on your own! They’ll be able to offer different treatment options – from UV light treatment to medicated creams. These options could do wonders for more severe psoriasis flare-ups.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you aren’t going through this alone. There are literally millions of people all over the world, who live with psoriasis. Therefore, if you’re feeling a little lonely, or the condition is getting you down, reach out to your family, or your friends. While they might not completely understand the condition, they wouldn’t want you to suffer in silence! You could also look into local support groups, for people with psoriasis. Plus, remember this much is true: flare-ups are only temporary! Once you have the upper hand, you can manage the symptoms, and help your skin live its best life.

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