Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes skin redness, irritation and plaques of flaky skin. Psoriasis is a chronic condition. It develops when a person’s immune system sends faulty signals that tell skin cells to grow too quickly. New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of dried, flaky skin to appear. In addition, it is a very common skin condition that affects over 3 million people every year – from children through the elderly. It can’t be cured but can be successfully treated and managed. Treatment is important to prevent progression of the disease to become psoriatic arthritis which can damage the joints.
Types of Psoriasis
There are five different kinds of psoriasis although one person can have several. They are guttate, plaque, inverse, erythrodermic, and pustular. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type and often shows as red patches of skin covered by flaky, silver-white patches of dead skin called scales. It is often seen on the scalp, backs of arms and behind the ears. The skin is creating new skin cells too fast to shed them thus resulting in the buildup. It can be itchy and uncomfortable.
Emotional Effects of Psoriasis
It can cause a person embarrassment when others stare at the rash or make comments such as wondering if they are contagious or have poison ivy.
Psoriasis is treated with topical ointments and creams. Depending on the severity, ongoing treatment with prescriptions can have dramatic effect for clearing the skin. Phototherapy and Excimer laser treatments can be helpful as well. See our dermatologists for help in determining the best treatment options for you.