Psoriasis is a skin condition in which skin cells grow too quickly and pile up on the surface, causing lesions to form. There are 5 types of psoriasis: plaque, guttate, pustular, inverse, and erythodermic. Plaque psoriasis is the most common, with symptoms of thick, scaly skin that appears white, silvery, or red called plaques. These plaques can occur anywhere on the body, most commonly in the elbows, kness, lower back and scalp.
Thankfully, this condition is not contagious. However, the causes of psoriasis are complex and have been traced back to the immune system. Scientists have discovered that when a person has psoriasis, their T cells mistakenly trigger a reaction in the skin cells. The reaction causes new skin to form in days rather than weeks. Some common triggers of psoriasis include stressful life events, skin injuries, and strep throat. These are not universal triggers meaning it might not cause psoriasis in every person across the board.
Treatment and Diagnosis
Similar to eczema, there is no cure for psoriasis; only treatments to clear it up for a period of time. Each treatment has its pros and cons, which means it’s up to the patient to figure out what works best for him or her.
The three types of treatment are:
- Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis
- Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
- Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis
There are drawbacks for each of these types of treatment. Topicals are messy and can stain skin. Phototherapy require several visits and can be costly. Systemic medication have serious side effects and must be combined with other treatments. Please visit your dermatologist to further discuss treatment options for psoriasis.
For more information on how to maintain and minimize flare-ups, please visit the Skin Care Physician website here .