When country singing sensation LeAnn Rimes admitted late last year that she has struggled with psoriasis since childhood, she opened many people’s eyes to the physical and emotional toll the condition can take on a person. Psoriasis not only presents cosmetic issues—often leading to avoidance of social interaction and heightened self-consciousness—but it also affects the sufferer’s physical well-being and level of comfort.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that appears on the skin, and occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals to speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Symptoms of psoriasis frequently appear on the hands, feet and nails, so nail technicians should be aware of this disease and how it can affect salon services. In this month’s Nail Clinic, we delve into the details about this relatively common condition and discuss ways to accommodate clients with psoriasis in the salon.
A Psoriasis Primer
While the exact causes of psoriasis have yet to be discovered, like many diseases, genetics plays a major role in its development. “Psoriasis is an inherited skin disease in which the skin proliferates much faster than normal,” says Robert T. Brodell, MD, professor of internal medicine, dermatology, at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Rootstown, Ohio. “If you have a family member with psoriasis, you have an increased risk, but since something can set it off without warning, you may have no way of knowing whether it runs in your family.” In other words, a family member who actually carries the gene may have never experienced a triggering event, so the problem remains latent for one or more generations.
According to Joel Schlessinger, MD, FAAD, FAACS, Omaha, Nebraska-based board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, and president of