What is Psoriasis, Vitiligo, and Rosacea??

Psoriasis

According to the Nation Institutes of Health Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting), non-contagious, skin disease of scaling and inflammation that affects greater than 3 percent of the United States population, or more than 5 million adults. There are five types of psoriasis of which plaque is the most common. Typical symptoms for plaque psoriasis include:

  • Plaques or lesions of red skin that are often covered with loose, silver scales. Plaques may be itchy, painful and sometimes crack and bleed. Psoriasis is most common in the knees, elbows, stomach, feet, hands, and face
  • Crust on the scalp.
  • Discoloration and pitting of the fingernails and toenails. The nails may also detach from the nail bed.

There are a variety of causes of psoriasis though some abnormality of the immune system is thought to be key culprit. Psoriasis episodes may be triggered by stress and/or injury to dry skin. Psoriasis also appears to have a genetic component, often running in families though commonly skipping a generation.
Treatment for psoriasis ranges from steroids and salicylic acid applied topically; to phototherapy; to systematic and biologic medications for very serious cases.

Vitiligo

According to the National Institutes for Health 1 to 2 million people in the United States have this disorder. Half the people who have vitiligo develop it before age 20; most develop it before their 40th birthday. The disorder affects both sexes and all races equally; however, it is more noticeable in people with dark skin. Vitiligo may appear in childhood. Adult onset generally occurs in men and women in their late 30s.

The main sign of vitiligo is a loss of pigment that produces milky-white patches or depigmentation on your skin. This occurs when the body’s cells that produce melanin doe or cease melanin production resulting in slowly enlarging white patches on the skin.
There is no proven definite cause of vitiligo though there are several theories. Some believe it’s an immune system disorder though there are reports of single event triggers (stress or sunburn for example). It’s also believed that the increased occurrence of vitiligo within families indicates a hereditary component.

There is no known cure for vitiligo. The goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression of pigment loss. Sometimes it is possible to attempt to return some color to the skin. Treatment options include steroids applied topically or taken orally and photochemotherapy. In extreme cases surgical intervention may be an option, including skin grafting and melanocyte transplants.

Rosacea

National Institutes for Health data indicates that approximatelyt 14 million people in the United States have rosacea. This disease is most common in:

  • Women (especially during menopause)
  • People with fair skin
  • Adults between the ages of 30 and 60.

Signs of rosacea include redness, papules, and swelling on the face. Though sometimes confused with adult acne, rosacea symptoms do not include blackheads. Rosacea frequently begins as a tendency to blush easily and may progress to persistent redness in the center of the face. Eventually this may spread to the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. In extreme case the nose may thicken to produce a condition called rhinophyma.

There is no known cause for rosacea though there environmental, genetic and vascular factors have been implicated. Rosacea suffers are urged to avoid oil-based facial creams and always protect themselves from the sun. Keeping the face physically cool by avoiding hot showers, baths and rooms is also recommended.

Treatment Options include

  • Oral antibiotics
  • Topical treatment such as Metronidazole cream or gel or creams containing azelaic acid
  • Isotretinoin (This medication has serious side effects and is not suitable for everyone.)
  • Medications to reduce flushing
  • Nutraceuticals that target facial redness, inflammation and flushing
  • Anti-inflammatory agents
  • Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents
  • Lasers can be used to reduce the appearance of blood vessels