Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that targets the skin, and plaques that result commonly appear on the elbows, knees or scalp. The plaques can however show up on any part of the body. Normally your body will produce new skin cells and shed old ones every 28-30 days. With psoriasis, your immune system is in overdrive, leading to skin inflammation, causing skin cell turnover to occur much faster than normal. Instead of taking 28-30 days for skin cells to turnover, new cells are pushed to the surface in just 3-4 days. Because your body can’t shed the old, dead cells as fast, they pile up and begin to form thick, red, itchy, flaky, scaly patches referred to as plaques. Some people report burning and stinging from the plaques.
Conventional medicine looks at psoriasis as a skin condition, however it’s important to know that it actually starts underneath the skin and is a chronic disease of the immune system (as are other autoimmune conditions). Because imbalances of the immune system are involved, we must look for underlying causes of why this is occurring. If we do not address the underlying cause, it is left to persist, and it will cause additional problems over time. There are a variety of factors involved that when occur together result autoimmunity, and in some people, the symptoms of psoriasis.
Autoimmunity is the result of a genetic component, an environmental trigger, and impaired gut function. Environmental triggers can include stress, diet and nutrient deficiency, food allergies and food sensitivities, medications, and toxins for example. Impaired gut function may be due to inadequate digestion and absorption (which can lead to nutrient deficiency), imbalances and infections of the gut microbiome (which is your gut bacteria, and may be referred to as dysbiosis), and increased gut permeability (which is commonly referred to as leaky gut). While we can’t change our genetics, we can identify and work to eliminate environmental triggers and address impaired gut health, and thus bring psoriasis (and other autoimmune conditions) into remission in a natural, holistic manner.