Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory condition of skin, which causes it to become silvery with white scales and reddish plaques. It is known to commonly affect the scalp, belly button or umbilicus, knees, elbows, palms and soles.
According to Dr Shashi Kiran A R, consultant, dermatology, Kauvery Hospital Electronic City, Bengaluru, even though it is autoimmune, psoriasis is a multifactorial disease with genetic and environmental factors adding to it.
“The body naturally sheds dead skin cells and replaces them with new ones in regular intervals of 39 to 42 days. But with psoriasis, this process is irregular. The immune system triggers skin cells to grow at a rapid pace and stack up, resulting in raised, red patches,” the doctor explains.
He adds that psoriasis can get aggravated in dry weather conditions, and due to alcohol consumption, smoking, stress, obesity, and few medications. It is also accompanied by complications like arthritis, obesity, diabetes, mental stress, depression, and low self-esteem.
“Clothing choices, withdrawal from gatherings, workplace, feelings of embarrassment, trying to avoid potentially-awkward situations are things people deal with. This is why the burden of skin diseases is so tremendous,” Dr Shashi says.
Psoriasis localised to the belly button
Per the doctor, psoriasis located in this area usually responds to ointments only. “Manipulating or scrubbing of the scales will aggravate the condition as there is a phenomenon called koebnerization, where scratching increases the severity and appearance of new lesions. Moisturising the skin will give maximum benefits,” he says.
The expert adds that doing the following can help:
* Coconut oil massages, as it has many natural fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory and skin repair properties.
* A low-calorie diet with lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables will help reduce the oxidative stress in the body.
* Reducing stressful situations and practising yoga, Pranayama, breathing exercises.
* Avoiding tattoos and piercings.
* Exposure to sunlight will help as vitamin D deficiency is linked with psoriasis.
“Depending on the spread and extent of the disease, multiple modalities of treatment are available for psoriasis including ointments, oral medications, NB-UVB light treatment and biologicals,” states the doctor.
He concludes by saying that psoriasis is never contagious and easily treatable in the majority, with very few complications.