What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that leads to patches of dry, scaly, itchy skin. It is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person.
What Are Symptoms Of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis symptoms can vary for each person and depend on the specific type of case. Most people with this condition have red, inflamed patches of skin that are covered in thick, whitish-silver scales. These patches of skin tend to itch, and they can also feel sore or burn. It’s common for the skin around the patches to feel dry, which can lead to skin that cracks and bleeds. Stiff, swollen joints are symptoms that commonly occur in people with psoriatic arthritis.
Symptoms frequently go through cycles. You might experience noticeable symptoms for several days or weeks, and then they might subside for a period of time or even go into remission. Symptoms appear on most areas of the body, including the scalp, face, hands, elbows, knees, and feet.
What Are The Different Types Of Psoriasis?
There are a number of psoriasis types, and it’s possible to have more than one simultaneously. The types of Psoriasis differ as follows:
Plaque: This is the most common type, which appears as raised patches of red, inflamed skin with silver scales. It most commonly affects the scalp, elbows, lower back, and knees.
Guttate: Often developing during childhood, this type is usually triggered by a bacterial infection. Small, red, raised bumps develop on the scalp, torso, arms, or legs.
Inverse: Usually triggered by a fungal infection, this type appears as smooth patches of red, inflamed skin that does not have scales. It usually affects parts of the body where the skin folds.
Pustular: This type causes pus-filled, painful blisters to appear, and the surrounding skin looks red and inflamed. The pustules can become widespread and affect large areas of the body, or they can be localized to the palms or soles of the feet.
Psoriatic: This type causes painful, swollen joints that range from mild to severe symptoms. It can affect any joint in the body, and cause permanent joint damage in severe cases.
Erythrodermic: Although this is the least common type, it can quickly develop into a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include a red, peeling rash, intense itching, pain, or a burning sensation that affects nearly the entire body. If you have an erythrodermic flare, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
What Are Causes Of Psoriasis?
Researchers haven’t yet identified a specific cause, but it’s known that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that results in the rapid production of new skin cells. As a result, dead skin cells quickly accumulate since the body is unable to shed the old skin cells quickly enough. This is what causes the patches of red skin with silvery plaques that are commonly seen with this skin condition.
Psoriasis causes are also thought to be from Genetics and environmental factors. If you have a family member with this skin condition, you have a higher risk of developing it. Specific things in the environment, called triggers, also can cause symptoms to develop. These triggers include:
- A skin injury, such as a scratch, bug bite, or sunburn
- Weather, especially dry, cold conditions
- Illness or infection, such as strep throat, bronchitis, ear infection, or respiratory infection
- Frequent alcohol consumption
- Taking certain medications, including beta-blockers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), lithium, and malaria drugs
What Are Treatment Options?
There isn’t a cure, but psoriasis treatment can improve your symptoms by slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells and reducing itching, pain, and discomfort. Treatment depends on which parts of your body are affected and the type of psoriasis you have.
For mild cases, your dermatologist may prescribe a topical corticosteroid to help manage symptoms, or recommend other topical treatments, such as those containing salicylic acid, coal tar, retinoids, or aloe vera. Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, can ease mild to moderate symptoms, as can daily exposure to sunlight. For severe cases, your doctor may prescribe oral or injectable medications that will suppress the immune system.
Your dermatologist can determine which treatments are right for you. You can also ask your doctor about over-the-counter treatments, such as lotions, shampoos, oatmeal baths, and other products that can help to relieve itching, moisturize, and soothe your skin. For some psoriasis types, a combination of treatments is the most appropriate. Avoiding known triggers can help to prevent flares. Always speak with your dermatologist before using any over-the-counter treatment.
Treatment options may vary at each location.
Please confirm your desired treatment is offered at your preferred location when scheduling.