What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that affects approximately 125 million people worldwide, according to the World Psoriasis Day consortium. It manifests itself in the form of patches of raised plaques and scales, typically located on a person’s knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. While the precise cause of psoriasis is not currently known, it is associated with inflammation which, in turn, implicates the body’s immune system.
Under normal conditions, it takes approximately one month for new skin cells to grow in the deeper layers of the skin and slowly rise to the skin surface and existing skin cells to shed. For those suffering from psoriasis, however, their body produces new skin cells at a rate up to 10X faster than normal. In this scenario, because the body is unable to timely shed its existing old skin cells, the new and existing cells rapidly accumulate on the skin surface and form patches of plaques and scales on the skin surface where they become red and have a tendency to burn, itch and sting. Psoriasis patches typically range from a few patches of flaky skin to major eruptions that cover large areas on the body. For most people it affects only a few areas of their body and has a tendency to heal and then return throughout a person’s lifetime making it a “chronic” skin disorder with no current cure.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
The precise symptoms to look out for depend on the type of psoriasis a person is suffering from. For example, the most common type is “plaque” psoriasis which typically manifests itself in the form of raised plaques of red skin covered with silver-colored scales which can cause itchiness and pain, at times even cracking and bleeding. Other potential signs of plaque psoriasis include discolored, brittle fingernails and toenails, as well as crusty patches of plaque on the scalp. People suffering from psoriasis can also develop a condition known as “psoriatic arthritis” which causes swelling and pain in joints.
Are there different types of psoriasis?
Because there are different types of psoriasis, knowing which one you have is helpful when it comes to identifying the best treatment options. Other types of psoriasis include:
pustular psoriasis which presents itself as red, scaly skin having tiny pustules on a person’s palms and the soles of their feet
guttate psoriasis which appears as small red spots, primarily on the torso and limbs that can be triggered by a respiratory infection, strep throat, tonsilitis, stress and beta-blocker medications used to treat arrythmias
inverse psoriasis in the form of bright red shiny lesions found in one’s armpit, groin and breast regions, and
erythrodermic psoriasis which makes skin appear fiery red in color and is typically triggered by severe sunburn, infections and certain medications.
What causes psoriasis?
The precise cause of psoriasis remains somewhat of a mystery. Experts believe that a malfunctioning immune system causes inflammation to be experienced by the body resulting in new skin cells being so rapidly formed, prior to the old cells being shed, resulting in patches of raised plaque and scales to form on the skin surface. More particularly, existing skin cells are normally replaced with new ones every 10 to 30 days. For those suffering from psoriasis, however, new cells grow every 3 to 4 days. It is the rapid buildup of new skin cells prior to the existing old cells being shed that creates silver scales and plaque. Although psoriasis tends to run in families, it may skip a generation or two. For example, a grandfather and their grandson may be affected, but not the child's parent.
How is psoriasis different from other skin disorders?
Psoriasis is most often confused with eczema. While these two skin disorders have similar symptoms, they are not the same. The biggest difference is that psoriasis is an immune disorder, eczema is not. Other points of differentiation include the way they feel and look. Whereas both skin conditions cause intense itching, psoriasis is also accompanied by a painful burning or stinging sensation. Whereas both conditions cause skin to appear red and inflamed, patches of eczema appear rough and leather-like. Psoriasis patches, on the other hand, are often raised, silvery and scaly looking. Skin appears thicker and more inflamed.
What triggers a psoriasis flare-up?
There are a variety of triggers that can cause a psoriasis flare-up. Examples include cold and/or dry weather, certain medications, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoke, infections, injuries like cuts, bruises or burns, air pollution, UV rays, and stress which by the way also makes the itch more intense. The ability to effectively manage stress is especially important for those suffering from psoriasis.
How is psoriasis treated?
When it comes to dealing with psoriasis, there is both good news and bad news. The bad news is there is currently no cure available for psoriasis. The good news, on the other hand, is there are a plethora of effective treatments available for greatly reducing the symptoms associated with this skin disorder. The treatment options range from slowing the growth of new skin cells to managing the itchiness and dryness associated with the disorder. Which treatment option to use depends on a variety of factors such as the size of the rash/patch, its location on the body, as well as a person’s age and overall health. A medical doctor is best suited to make treatment suggestions based on their diagnosis. Some common psoriasis treatments include the use of steroidal creams, moisturizers for hydrating/sealing in moisture, retinoid creams, UV light therapy in combination with prescription medication which helps to slow new cell growth, biologic treatments that help to control inflammation by managing the body’s overactive immune system, and enzyme inhibitors that help reduce the chronic inflammation associated with psoriasis.
How can Codex help?
At Codex, we not only take skin disorders like psoriasis very seriously, but we also believe our product offerings directed to skin barrier repair and maintenance, inflammation management, and protection from environmental stressors such as UV rays and pollution are uniquely positioned to help bring comfort and relief to those suffering from this skin disorder. And because all our plant-based, biotech-derived products have been intentionally designed to address the needs of individuals with sensitive skin, they serve as soothing and efficacious treatment options for psoriasis sufferers.
Codex’s BIA collection has been scientifically formulated to address skin hydration, moisture retention, and promote the effective shedding of old, dry, itchy, flaky skin cells. The collection includes our Bia Nourishing Facial Oil and Bia Unscented Soap for gently cleansing the face and body of makeup and dirt, together with the Bia Exfoliating Wash for removing dead skin cells without stripping the skin of much needed moisture. Our Bia Skin Superfood is clinically proven to not only deeply hydrate and soothe dry itchy skin, but it also locks in that added moisture to help repair and maintain the skin barrier. With its patented BiaComplex technology, collection’s simple four step process (the fewer products used, the better) for gently cleansing skin without stripping it of moisture, followed by application of a nourishing moisturizer that simultaneously hydrates and seals-in moisture to keep skin well hydrated, is critically important when it comes to calming a psoriasis flare-up. The fact that all of these products have been recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation as being safe to use by psoriasis sufferers provides added peace of mind and confidence in this treatment protocol.
For those psoriasis sufferers looking to take a more proactive approach to protecting their skin barrier to reduce the likelihood for a psoriasis flare-up, Codex’s ANTU collection with its patented AntuComplex technology is just what the doctor ordered! This collection has been scientifically designed to protect skin from environmental stressors such as UV rays and air pollutants, as well as intrinsic stressors like stress and poor diet, all of which can lead to a compromised skin barrier.
The collection’s Antu Skin Barrier Serum is loaded with free-radical scavenging antioxidants that help repair and protect a compromised (inflamed) skin barrier by reducing the number of inflammation-causing reactive oxidation species (ROS) present in the skin, as well as anti-inflammatory actives to help calm and soothe already inflamed skin. The Antu Skin Barrier Moisturizer contains ancillary plant-based ingredients used to form a coating on the skin surface that helps to block inflammation/flare up-causing air pollutants from contacting the skin. In addition to protecting the skin barrier from degradation, this collection also contains various skin-benefiting plant-based ingredients that help to tone, re-densify, brighten and de-stress your skin. And oh, by the way, they too have been recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation as safe to use by psoriasis sufferers!
In a Nutshell
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder caused by an improperly functioning immune system which causes new skin cells to rapidly form before the old skin cells can be shed. This build-up of new and old skin cells results in the formation of thick patches of scaly plaque which become red, itchy, inflamed, and painful. While a cure for psoriasis is not currently available, non-medical treatment options have been found to offer much needed, and appreciated, relief to those suffering from psoriasis. It is, however, always recommended that psoriasis sufferers consult a licensed dermatologist prior to using any treatment protocol to ensure that it’s appropriate for their skin condition.