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Psoriasis Quiz: Myths and Facts

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Psoriasis is contagious.

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Psoriasis is contagious.

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You can't spread the condition to others. Psoriasis develops when your immune system sends the wrong signals. They tell your skin cells to grow too fast, and those cells pile up on the surface of your skin. That leads to red skin covered by flaky, silvery-white patches called scales.

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Psoriasis affects only your skin

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Psoriasis affects only your skin

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There are several kinds of psoriasis, and most cause patches, blisters filled with pus, or small red spots on your skin. But it can also affect you in other ways. Up to 30% of people with the condition get psoriatic arthritis, a serious disease, which can cause painful, stiff, and swollen joints.

You can treat psoriasis with lasers.

You can treat psoriasis with lasers.

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Laser treatments target areas of mild to moderate skin psoriasis. You'll need several sessions and may have some bruising or burning. Psoriasis can also be treated with ointments, lotions, creams, foams, shampoos, prescription pills, shots, and IV infusions.  

 

Another option is phototherapy (light therapy), where you expose your skin to ultraviolet light. The UV light can slow the growth of affected cells. You first have treatments at a doctor's office. Your doctor might have you follow up with a portable light at home.

Some foods can trigger a psoriasis flare-up.

Some foods can trigger a psoriasis flare-up.

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Studies haven't found a connection between foods and psoriasis. But some people say certain foods trigger flare-ups for them. If your skin gets worse after eating a particular food, cut it out of your diet for a few weeks and see what happens.

 

Strep throat; cold, dry weather; and stress are common psoriasis triggers.

 

Skin injuries -- like a cut, scratch, or bad sunburn -- and certain medications can also cause flares.

 

If you have psoriasis, you shouldn't use nail polish.

If you have psoriasis, you shouldn't use nail polish.

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Up to half of people with psoriasis see changes in their nails. The nails can separate from the skin of the nail bed and become thick, discolored, and deformed. Polish won’t protect your nails from damage, but it can make them look better.If you want to protect your nails, keep them short, and wear gloves when working with your hands. Doctors recommend cotton or vinyl gloves, not latex. Ask your doctor about prescription nail products you can paint on your nails to strengthen them or thin thickened nails.

Psoriasis gets worse in:

Psoriasis gets worse in:

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The winter brings dry air, colder temperatures, and less sunlight. That dries out your hands and can make psoriasis worse. Use a humidifier and moisturize often to relieve symptoms. Many people with psoriasis say it improves in the summer, when their skin gets more sun.

If you have psoriasis, you should take a shower instead of a bath.

If you have psoriasis, you should take a shower instead of a bath.

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Some people find that taking a warm bath with oils or bath salts eases their symptoms. For others, cold showers help with itching. Either is fine. The key is to keep your skin clean and moisturized.

 

Make sure to shower or bathe soon after a dip in a pool or hot tub, and use lots of moisturizer. Chlorine can irritate and dry out skin.

Exercise can help psoriasis.

Exercise can help psoriasis.

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A recent study of more than 87,000 nurses suggests that vigorous exercise -- something more intense than walking -- can lower your chance of having psoriasis.

 

If you have psoriatic arthritis, moderate exercise might improve your range of motion, ease joint pain and stiffness, give you more endurance, and make you more flexible.

If you have psoriasis, the best time to apply moisturizer is:

If you have psoriasis, the best time to apply moisturizer is:

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Keep your skin moist to reduce redness and itching, and help it heal. Heavy creams and ointments lock water in, which is important after bathing, showering, and washing your hands. Stay away from scented moisturizers, since they might irritate your skin.

You’re more likely to get psoriasis if someone in your family has it.

You’re more likely to get psoriasis if someone in your family has it.

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Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S. About 7.5 million people have it. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system incorrectly attacks and destroys healthy cells in your body.

 

People who get psoriasis usually have at least one person in their family who has it, too. Still, that doesn't mean everyone who has a relative with the condition will get it.

Psoriasis usually shows up on your:

Psoriasis usually shows up on your:

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You can get psoriasis anywhere on your body, including your eyelids, ears, mouth, feet, and nails. But the most common locations for outbreaks are the scalp, knees, and elbows.

 

Your skin is more sensitive in some places than in others. How doctors treat it depends on how severe it is and where it is on your body.

How can you tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and dandruff?

How can you tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and dandruff?

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At least half of the people who have psoriasis have it on their scalp, where it can look like dandruff. Psoriasis and dandruff both cause your scalp to itch. But psoriasis looks powdery with a silver sheen, while dandruff is yellowish and greasy.

On average, how fast are new skin cells made on the scalp?

On average, how fast are new skin cells made on the scalp?

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If you have psoriasis, though, new skin cells grow and move to the surface of your skin much faster -- every 3 to 4 days.

 

The buildup of old cells creates silvery sclaes. Affected skin can be itchy, dry, painful, and can crack and bleed.

If you have psoriasis, you're at a higher risk for:

If you have psoriasis, you're at a higher risk for:

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People with psoriasis are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with a heart attack or another disease connected to the hardening of arteries.

 

One study found that a 60-year-old with severe psoriasis had a 36% higher chance of a heart attack than a 60-year-old without the condition.

Most people outgrow psoriasis.

Most people outgrow psoriasis.

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Psoriasis can't be cured, but it can be controlled. Managing psoriasis usually involves a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes.

 

Take good care of yourself and avoid things that can make your psoriasis worse.

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