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Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that appears as dry, raised patches of skin with a silvery white build up of flakes called scales. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, with the first outbreak usually appearing between 15 and 25 years of age. Psoriasis is a persistent and chronic inflammatory condition that is not contagious, but if left untreated can lead to pain, disability, and disfigurement. It is a symptom of an autoimmune dysfunction often associated with cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

 What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

Psoriasis can occur at any age and can appear anywhere on the body. Psoriasis often occurs on the scalp, palms, lower back, in extensor areas such as the elbows and knees or in areas where friction can irritate folds of skin. Symptoms of psoriasis include the following:

•  Red patches of skin that is covered with silvery scales (called "plaques")
•  Small scaling spots
•  Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
•  Swollen or stiff joints

Psoriasis is graded based on the extent of the body affected; degree of thickness, scaling and redness; and response to treatment.

 What causes psoriasis?

The cause of psoriasis is unknown and there is no cure for the condition. Genetics, stress, environmental triggers and a lowered immunity contribute to outbreaks which can require prolonged and extensive treatment. A skin biopsy of plaques can confirm diagnosis.

White blood cells, specifically T-lymphocyte cells, fight infection by ingesting and breaking down viruses and bacteria that cause infection. In psoriasis, white blood cells attack healthy skin cells in a dysfunctional immune response and stimulate the wound healing process in dermal tissue. Consequently, the epidermis is thickened with an increased number of skin layers and accumulated white blood cells, producing thick scaly patches.

 How is psoriasis treated?

Depending on the severity and extent of the condition, a multimodal approach is usually employed to treat psoriasis including oral and topical medications, lifestyle changes, environmental adjustments, and psychological support. While there is no cure for psoriasis, early diagnosis and intervention are critical in interrupting the hyperstimulated process to achieve remission.

In addition to immune therapy, topical corticosteroids are effective short-term treatments to reduce inflammation. Skin thickening and scaling associated with mild to moderate psoriasis can be treated with topical applications containing salicylic acid or sulfur.

 Salicylic Acid

Derived from the bark of the willow tree, salicylic acid is a commonly employed beta hydroxy acid for keratolysis and comedolysis. Salicylic acid binds with and dissolves excess oil (sebum), penetrates clogged pores, and stimulates keratolysis. Once inside pores and hair follicles, salicylic acid produces an antiseptic effect, reducing any bacteria lodged inside.

KAVI Salicylic Acid products contain highly purified therapeutic concentrations with a normalized pH of 2.35. All KAVI Salicylic Acid peels are prepared with peppermint oil extract (menthol) to soothe the skin during application. KAVI Salicylic Acid products contain an alcohol base that enhances penetration into the skin. For more information on choosing the appropriate salicylic acid product for your skin needs, click here.


Topical products containing sulfur have been effective in penetrating dry, thickened layers of skin and supporting dermal balance through oxidation. The oxidative action of sulfur acts on the superficial layers of the skin to penetrate and stimulate micro-exfoliation while normalizing the skin's pH. Sulfur compounds support protein biosynthesis in the epithelial layer which is critical to the skin's growth and function. Sulfur is considered an effective treatment for psoriasis and optimizes the absorption of topical medications a physician may prescribe. KAVI products that contain colloidal sulfur provide the same potency as other products containing precipitated sulfur but at a fraction of the concentration. Consequently, KAVI colloidal sulfur products are less irritating and more pleasant to the senses.

KAVI DermaWash and Aqua KAVI contain colloidal sulfur and are formulated for daily use on sensitive and normal skin, respectively. Both products are suitable for facial and body cleansing to help manage sensitive areas prone to flare ups (such as the face and the inside of the knees and elbows). The KAVI Sulfur Shampoo extends treatment to the scalp to help reduce scaling and itching.

 What can I expect from treatment? Do they work?

With consistent treatment, psoriasis can resolve over time but the condition can flare up periodically. Since psoriasis is a chronic condition with unpredictable outbreaks separated by long periods of remission, extended use of antibiotics and corticosteroids may yield diminishing benefits and increasing side effects. Topical treatments to reduce skin thickening may produce transient dryness and irritation as the outer layer of skin is shed and normalized skin tissue is formed.

Cleansing daily with colloidal sulfur products can help reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, and weekly treatment with salicylic acid peels can produce significant results in as early as four to six weeks. Regular application of colloidal sulfur products can produce excessive dryness-in these cases frequency of application can be reduced. Moisturizers for sensitive skin will soften plaques and can alleviate discomfort during treatment.

 What can I do to manage future flare-ups? How can I improve my skin care routine?

Once the condition is under control, remission may persist by continuing lifestyle changes, including avoiding extended exposure to the sun and regular use of gentle colloidal sulfur products such as DermaWash, Aqua KAVI, and the Sulfur Shampoo. In addition, periodic use of salicylic acid peels (e.g., twice per month) can be incorporated into your daily routine to sustain remission.

Finally, the ingredients in the KAVI Toner are designed to gently remove skin build up and reduce irritation. The KAVI Toner contains low concentrations of salicylic acid and resorcinol to provide an ideal final-stage cleanser for reactive skin conditions. Resorcinol is a plant derivative that helps to soften thickened skin and reduce itching on reactive skin. Salicylic acid stimulates gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin for a smoother appearance.

The active ingredients in each KAVI skin care product are formulated to optimize all phases of treatment. KAVI skin care systems can be customized with other KAVI products to meet each person's evolving needs to promote beauty and wellness.

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