What Is Psoriasis And How To Treat It

BY Harper's BAZAAR U.K. / Aug 26 2019 / 10:14 AM

This Psoriasis Awareness Month we tackle this troubling skin condition

What Is Psoriasis And How To Treat It
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Cara Delevingne for Harper's BAZAAR Arabia April 2019

Kim Kardashian and her carefully-cultivated look are famous for numerous reasons: the curves, the hair, the lashes, the contouring. In beauty circles, she is also known for having quite incredible skin – so flawless it looks almost doll-like, say those who have seen her close-up.

However, the ever-candid 38-year-old is also a long-term sufferer of psoriasis, a chronic skin disease for which there is no cure. It is estimated that up to three per cent of the population of the UK and Ireland live with the condition, which can occur anywhere on the body.

Earlier this year Kardashian shared a photo of her "psoriasis face" on Instagram, and has previously tweeted: "Why am I now suffering psoriasis on my face". These aren't the only times time she has been vocal about her skin troubles - as well as mentioning it in an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, she wrote about psoriasis on her blog in 2016, saying:

"Sometimes I just feel like it's my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it? I'm always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I'm learning to just accept it as a part of who I am."

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According to the Psoriasis Association, the condition seems to occur in two 'peaks' – first becoming an issue between your late teens and early thirties before flaring up again past the age of 50.

What is psoriasis?

The problem starts when certain immune cells become overactive, as if they were healing a wound or infection, thus producing inflammatory chemicals which causes the skin replacement process to speed up.

Skin cells which normally take 21 to 28 days to regenerate are instead replaced in just a few days, causing itchy or sore raised 'plaques' on the skin, which can appear red and scaly or in darker patches.

What causes it?

"Psoriasis can be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers such as stress, certain medicines or infection," explains the consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson Dr Anjali Mahto.

Cara Delevingne is another celebrity who has spoken of her troubles with psoriasis.

"It wasn't a good time," the supermodel told The Times in 2015. "It was like, flight and fight for months. Just constantly on edge. It is a mental thing as well because if you hate yourself and your body and the way you look, it just gets worse and worse."

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How do you treat it?

The good news for psoriasis sufferers is that the condition can be treated - and there tends to be no scarring. "Depending on the extent of the disease, psoriasis can be managed with topical creams and ointments, UVB light therapy, systematic medicines and biologic injectable drugs for the most severe cases," says Dr Mahto. "Obesity is also associated with psoriasis, therefore exercise and remaining healthy can help."

As with all skin conditions, everyone's case is different - but it's important to keep skincare gentle when dealing with a flare-up. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser cleanses skin while providing immediate relief for irritation. Moisturising is also key and will help relieve any itchiness caused by psoriasis. Chanel La Solution 10, though expensive, is designed with sensitive skin in mind and contains only 10 ingredients.

Lifestyle changes could also help; the link between diet and psoriasis is not fully understood, but given stress is thought to be a trigger, getting more sleep and keeping your phone away from the bedroom during a flare-up, should help ease the symptoms.

From Harper's BAZAAR U.K