Could clearing up your skin save your life?

From the itching and burning... to the scaling and peeling... having psoriasis can really get "under your skin."

It can be unsightly and embarrassing -- but you might comfort yourself with the notion that this inflammatory illness is only "skin deep."

The worst that can happen is that those red and scaly patches crack open and bleed... right?

Well, unfortunately, we're finding out that psoriasis might be an indication of something more serious going on in your body.

We already know that having psoriasis has been linked to a higher risk of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

And now, a new study shows that the more "real estate" psoriasis takes up on the surface of your skin, the greater your risk of DYING.

In the study out of the University of Pennsylvania, the researchers determined how much "surface area" psoriasis took up on the skin of about 8,700 patients with the condition and then followed them for four years.

By the end of the study, it turned out that patients whose psoriasis covered 10 percent or more of their bodies where nearly TWICE as likely to have died than patients with less severe psoriasis.

It didn't matter if the patients smoked or not... were slim or overweight... or had other major medical conditions.

Even when controlling for these risk factors, along with demographic factors like age and gender, the link between psoriasis surface area and risk of death held true.

Now, the study didn't determine WHY something that appears superficial could send you six feet under, but I wouldn't be surprised if the culprit was inflammation.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease -- which basically means your immune system has turned AGAINST you instead of working FOR you. And when it attacks your healthy tissue, it causes inflammation that can manifest in a variety of ways.

And over the long term, we know that inflammation can be deadly. It's at the root of a multitude of diseases -- including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and even Alzheimer's.

Unfortunately, the mainstream generally treats only the SYMPTOMS of psoriasis -- typically with topical cortisone preparations, which not only have unpleasant side effects but can also stop working after several months of treatment.

And don't let them try to shut down your overactive immune system with powerful drugs -- because that leaves you open to all sorts of other infections.

Instead, aim to knock out your psoriasis by going after its underlying causes.

You can rebalance your immune system by switching to a diet that's a natural inflammation fighter, like the Paleo diet, and supplementing it with probiotics and vitamin D. Just make sure to find out if you have any food allergies that could be triggering an autoimmune reaction.

Anti-inflammatories like curcumin, fish oil, and white willow bark can also help tame a psoriasis flare-up when it occurs.