CAPP, in collaboration with the Canadian Dermatology Association, is pleased to announce our first ever Youth Art Contest.
The objective of the contest is to increase awareness of the challenges of living with psoriasis, to introduce our new video and to mark World Psoriasis Day 2016
About the contest
Canadian Youth are invited to view the video below and then submit artwork based on the following theme:
* Fight prejudice, stigmatization, discrimination
* Raise awareness and hope by spreading knowledge and understanding
* Gain access to treatments for an improved quality of life
Art work should be representative of the theme (or any one of the sub-themes) in how it relates to pediatric psoriasis.
Note: artists do NOT have to have psoriasis to be eligible.
Art will be judged based on creativity and best use of theme and cash prizes ($150) will be awarded in three age categories:
Primary – Grades 1-4
Intermediate – Grades 5-8
Senior – Grades 9-12
All submitted artwork will be featured in an online art gallery on our website. Be sure to include the name and the grade of the artist.
Original Art can be mailed to
Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients
136-2446 Bank St, Suite 383
Ottawa, ON K1V 1A8
Deadline for entries is October 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be announced on World Psoriasis Day, Octoer 29th 2016.
Calling all Teachers!
If you submit artwork as a class, and a winner is chosen from your class submission, an additional prize of $250 in the choice of a gift card, will be awarded for your class.
*Use of the Psoriasis Teddy bear is approved by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations. This teddy was used in their 2010 World Psoriasis Day activities.
If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, take heart; while the physical symptoms can seem like an enormous burden at first, there are things you can do and people who can help.
Here are some suggestions.
- Connect with others. An estimated two to three per cent of the world population has psoriasis – in other words, as many as a million Canadians and 140 million people worldwide. That is a lot of collective wisdom and support you can tap into.
- Learn. While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are numerous treatments and healthy lifestyle practices that can help.
- Take charge. When you take action to manage your psoriasis, it will stop managing you. Many of us who have embarked on this journey have found renewed strength and resiliency that has made us better people. We thrive in spite of adversity.
The in-depth guide below will give you a variety of tools to get you started or supplement what you already know. Ultimately, we hope that you will help us to make this guide even better by sharing what has worked for you and what has not.
Your story is important, and sharing it is a way to help yourself while also helping others.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis (pronounced so-RYE-a-sis) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the regeneration of skin cells.
Normal skin cells grow, mature and are shed as part of a natural cycle that takes 28 to 30 days. Psoriasis is a common skin condition that happens when faulty signals in the body’s immune system trigger new skin cells to form in three to four days instead. Because the skin cells grow too quickly, they are not shed normally. Instead, they pile up on the skin’s surface, creating sores or lesions – often called plaques. Thick, silvery scales form atop these itchy and sometimes painful red patches.
Psoriasis usually affects the elbows, knees and scalp, but it can also occur on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, nails, genitals and torso.
If you suspect that you might have psoriasis or if you’ve received a formal diagnosis, you can take some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Nearly a million Canadians are affected by psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a persistent, chronic condition that may come and go – flare up then go into remission.
During flare-ups, psoriasis causes itchiness and pain in the inflamed skin. Under this stress, the skin may crack and bleed. There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatment can interrupt the psoriasis cycle and significantly relieve its symptoms and appearance.
Psoriasis can range from a few dandruff-like scales to widespread patches that cover large areas of skin. For many people, psoriasis is nothing more than a nuisance. For others, it’s an embarrassment. And for a few, it’s a painful and disabling condition.
No one knows what causes psoriasis, but genetics may play a major role in its development, as psoriasis often runs in families. About one in three people with psoriasis has a close relative with this condition.
People with certain medical conditions, such as HIV, are more likely to develop psoriasis. Other risk factors are:
- Family history
- Heavy alcohol intake
Flares of psoriasis are often linked to triggers – factors in the environment that set off the faulty immune response that causes psoriasis. Everyone’s triggers are different, but common triggers include:
- Cold or dry climate
- Dry skin
- Certain medications, e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), high-blood-pressure medications, some antidepressants, anti-malarial drugs and others
- Skin injuries, including sunburn, cuts and bug bites
Different Levels of Severity
Severity of psoriasis varies with each person and can range from a few patches here and there to full body involvement. Assessment is usually discussed in terms of “mild,” “moderate” and “severe.” In psoriasis patients, about 65% of people have mild psoriasis, about 25% have moderate psoriasis, and about 10% have severe psoriasis.
- Covers less than 3% of the body*
- Generally involves isolated patches on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands and feet
- Little effect on the quality of life
- Covers 3% to 10% of the body*
- Generally appears on the arms, torso, scalp and other regions
- Often results in concern about others’ reaction to visible lesions
- Affects the quality of life
- Covers more than 10% of the body*
- May affect large areas of skin
- Psoriasis of the face and palms/soles may be considered as severe
- Severe impact on the quality of life
To assess the area of involvement, consider that your palm covers about 1% of the skin’s surface; the number of palms of your skin involved with psoriasis is a reflection of the body surface involved.
*National Psoriasis Foundation
The Emotional Impact
The emotional impact of psoriasis on a person’s life does not depend on the severity of the lesions. It is determined by how each person feels about the itchiness, pain and discomfort of psoriasis and the visibility of the lesions.
- Psoriasis is associated with a lack of self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, anxiety and depression
- Up to 60% of people with psoriasis may develop depression
- Biologic therapy may lessen the symptoms of depression o
- Depression is treatable with antidepressant medication, such as serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Fast Facts about Psoriasis
- Psoriasis often begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can happen at any age.
- Psoriasis affects men and women nearly equally.
- Psoriasis is not contagious; it cannot be spread from one person to another. The lesions can become infected, if scratched, but they are not infectious.
- Personality has nothing to do with psoriasis; it can happen to anyone. Psoriasis affects people of all sexes, races and ethnic groups.
- Psoriasis cycles from better to worse to better and so on. Outbreaks may come and go. Psoriasis may also persist for long periods without getting better or worse.
- About 2% to 3% of the world’s population has psoriasis (World Health Organization).
- Nearly 60% of people with psoriasis report that psoriasis is a problem in daily life.
- About 30% of people who have psoriasis will get psoriatic arthritis, a type of inflammatory arthritis.
- Because psoriasis is a visible skin condition, it can affect people’s feelings, behaviour and experiences.
- About 60% of people with psoriasis miss an average of 26 days of work each year because of their condition.
- One of every 3 people with psoriasis has a family member with psoriasis.
Psoriasis affects many different people in many different ways. It is impossible to predict how it will affect you.
Psoriasis symptoms can be mild, moderate or even disabling, especially for psoriasis patients who develop psoriatic (pronounced so-ree-AH-tik) arthritis, which causes painful joints, inflammatory eye conditions and pitted, discoloured nails. Psoriasis tends to go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months and then disappearing. Sometimes psoriasis goes into remission, but most of the time it returns.
The classic symptoms of psoriasis are raised, red patches of skin covered with loose, silvery scales. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Tiny bleeds where skin scales are flaked or scraped off
- Itchy skin, particularly during sudden outbreaks or when psoriasis appears in skin folds
- Nail problems, such as tiny pits, yellowish colouring, build-up of dead skin under nails, nail dislodging or falling off
- Scalp scaling or lesions
- Similar patches of psoriasis on both sides of the body
- Appearance of psoriasis about two weeks after a skin injury such as a cut, scrape or sunburn (this is called Koebner’s phenomenon)
There are five types of psoriasis, identified by the presence of different types of psoriatic lesions. Usually, only one type of psoriasis appears at a time, but some people get different types at the same time. Sometimes, after one type of psoriasis clears, another type occurs. Or, one type of psoriasis may transform into another after exposure to a trigger, such as stopping certain psoriasis medications abruptly.
About 80% to 90% of people have plaque psoriasis. It is the most common type of psoriasis. Here’s what to look for:
- Well-defined, irregularly shaped, sharply outlined, swollen, dry, red, itchy, painful skin lesions—called plaques—with silvery scales on top
- Lesions tend to be distributed symetrically (that is, on both left and right sides of the body)
- Diameter of lesions can vary from 1 cm to several centimetres
- If scratched or scraped away, pinpoints of blood appear underneath lesions Appearance anywhere on the body, but most often on the scalp, torso, buttocks, elbows and knees. Can also include genitals, low back, palms of hands, soles of feet and inside of the mouth.
- The condition frequently affects fingernails and toenails, causing them to develop tiny pits or grooves, change in colour or detach from the underlying nail bed. The nails can also thicken.
- Swollen skin at joint lines or on the palms. Soles may crack and bleed.
The second most common type of psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, is more common in children and young adults under 30 years of age. It often starts suddenly and is often triggered by a bacterial infection such as strep throat or tonsillitis, skin injuries, stress or certain medications. Guttate psoriasis affects about 10% of people with psoriasis. It is sometimes followed by the development of plaque psoriasis, or it can be an exacerbation of plaque psoriasis.
Distinct, small (1 to 10 mm in diameter), droplet-shaped, reddish spots—often numbering in the hundreds—usually appear on the torso, arms and legs and sometimes on the scalp, ears and face. A fine scale, which is usually thinner than plaques, covers the spots.
This type of psoriasis mainly affects the skin in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, between the buttocks and around the genitals. Located in skin folds and on sensitive skin, it is easily worsened by rubbing and sweating. (It is also known as flexural psoriasis because it affects sites where the body regularly folds.) It is common in overweight people and people with deep skin folds. It can occur on its own but usually appears along with plaque psoriasis.
The classic signs of inverse psoriasis are smooth, shiny patches of very red, swollen skin.
Pustular psoriasis is rare and can be severe. It occurs in two forms: localized palmoplantar pustulosis, which affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and generalized pustular psoriasis, which affects large areas of the body. People with widespread patches need to go to the hospital for treatment, as their condition can be life-threatening. It can cause fever, chills, severe itchiness, dehydration, rapid pulse, anemia, exhaustion, weight loss and muscle weakness.
Generally, pustular psoriasis occurs rapidly. First, the skin gets red and tender, then white pus-filled blisters erupt a few hours later. The pus, which is made up of white blood cells, is not an infection and does not spread psoriasis from one person to another.
The blisters dry up, forming scales, in a few days, but they tend to go in a cycle—reappearing every few days or weeks.
Triggers include infections, stress, certain medications, injury to the skin, cold weather, metal allergies, smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.
Erythrodermic psoriasis (also known as exfoliative psoriasis or psoriatic exfoliative erythroderma) is the least common and most severe type of psoriasis. It covers the body with red, scaly, peeling lesions that can cover the entire body, including eyes, lining of the mouth and inside of the nose. It can itch and burn intensely. The skin swells and sheds multiple layers, often in large sheets. It is more common in men than in women.
Erythrodermic psoriasis may happen once or more often in the lifetime of 1% to 2% of people with psoriasis. It may happen gradually in a person with unstable plaque psoriasis or suddenly in someone who has never had psoriasis. It can be triggered by:
- Severe sunburn
- Underlying cancer
- Corticosteroids and other medications
- Drug-induced allergic rash
- Abrupt withdrawal of systemic medication
This type of psoriasis may be life-threatening and may require hospitalization. The loss of large areas of skin disrupts the body’s chemistry and may lead to severe illness, such as infection, pneumonia and congestive heart failure. It may raise the heart rate and cause problems with maintaining normal body temperature and fluid levels. Fever is common.