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What is Psoriasis

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition that affects around 2-3% of the UK population. Psoriasis causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin and is normally found around a person’s elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but it can appear anywhere on the body. This condition affects men, woman and children respectively. The severity of psoriasis varies greatly from person to person and for some people it's just a minor irritation, but for others it can have a major impact on their quality of life. 

Psoriasis is a long-lasting skin condition that can involve periods when you have little or no symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells are replaced faster than normal. This unfortunately cannot be explained for sure but research tends to suggest that there could be an issue within the immune system. In normal conditions skin cells mature within 21 to 28 days. During this time it travels to the surface of the skin and then is lost to an invisible shedding of dead skin cells. People suffering from psoriasis can produce new skin cells within 3 -7 days and as a result cells that aren’t fully mature build up quickly on the surface of the skin causing the visual effects namely: red, crusty, flaky patches covered with silvery scales.

Types of Psoriasis Treatment

Most people who suffer from psoriasis will consult their GP who will help treat them. Treatment will depend on the severity of your psoriasis and not all treatment will work. Treatments usually fall within 3 categories:

  • Topical - Creams and ointments often good for scalp psoriasis
  • Phototherapy - Exposing your skin to certain types of ultraviolet light. Such as a narrow band UVB lamp.
  • Systematic - Oral and injected medications that work throughout the body.

Your GP will be able to determine which is best for you and discuss a treatment plan.

UVB Phototherapy Treatment

UVB (Ultraviolet B) has proven to be one of the most effective treatments for psoriasis. It works by slowing the growth of affected skin cells by exposing the skin to a UVB light source, such as a Philips TL100W/01. This type of phototheraapy treatment can be administered both in a medical setting and at home.

UVB treatment can be either broad band or narrow band. The Philips TL01 is a narrow band UVB lamp, and the main difference is that it emits a smaller range of ultraviolet light, peaking around 311 nm (nanometers). Many studies have shown that narrow band UVB treats psoriasis faster and results in longer remission times when compared to broad band UVB. As it is more successful at treating psoriasis, it also means treatments are required less often.

Support During Your Condition

Psoriasis Care cannot give advice for home psoriasis treatment, but we have found some good resources online that can assist in your questions about psoriasis:

Philips Light Therapy information pages for Psoriasis Narrowband Treatment Psoriasis Light Treatment