is a common skin condition that can affect anyone, although it's more common in
people between the ages of 15 and 35, according to the National Psoriasis
If you have psoriasis, your skin cells grow faster than normal.
body naturally develops new skin cells every month to replace skin that sheds
or flakes off. With psoriasis, new skin cells form within days rather than
weeks. This rapid growth causes dead skin cells to accumulate on the skin’s
surface, resulting in thick patches of red, dry, and itchy skin.
is a chronic condition, but symptoms may improve over time.
Types of Psoriasis
can occur on the scalp, nails, and joints. In the United States, about 7.5
million people have psoriasis, according to the American
Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The five types of psoriasis include the
common form of psoriasis causes raised, red patches on the skin. Skin patches
can be itchy and painful.
type of psoriasis can start in childhood or young adulthood.
type of psoriasis causes red lesions in body folds.
type causes white blisters and red skin.
rare inflammatory type of psoriasis can develop over the entire body. Symptoms
include widespread redness, pain, and severe itching.
exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. However, it's believed that your immune
system and genes may contribute to the condition. Your body’s T-cells normally
fight viruses and bacteria. In psoriasis, they may start to attack healthy skin
cells. Your body increases its production of new skin cells in response to this
attack. These new skin cells move to the outer layer of your skin before dead
skin cells shed, triggering scaly skin patches.
is not contagious. However, the condition may run in families. Risk factors for
history of the condition
a viral or bacterial infection
of certain medications, such as those used to treat bipolar disorder and high
Psoriasis Diagnosis and Tests
can mimic other skin conditions like ringworm and dermatitis. You’ll need to
schedule an appointment with your doctor to confirm a diagnosis. About 95
percent of the time, doctors can diagnose psoriasis just by looking at your
skin, says the National
Psoriasis Foundation. Doctors sometimes need to perform a skin biopsy to rule
out other skin conditions. During a biopsy, your doctor removes a piece of skin
tissue and exams it under a microscope.
you’re diagnosed with psoriasis, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist.
A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin diseases.
no cure for psoriasis. But with treatment, you can reduce inflammation and skin
irritation. Some treatment options are described below.
doctor may prescribe creams or ointments for your skin or scalp. These can
therapy exposes skin to natural or artificial ultraviolet light under medical
supervision. This treatment helps slow the growth of new skin cells.
your psoriasis is severe or doesn't respond to other treatments, your doctor
may prescribe medications to suppress your immune system.
with treatments recommended by your doctor, you can take other steps to reduce
symptoms. Oatmeal baths may soothe irritated, red skin. Applying moisturizer to
dry, itchy skin immediately after a bath or shower can also reduce flare-ups.
Psoriasis may also improve if you limit alcohol consumption and learn ways to
manage stress. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
can increase your risk for other illnesses. Some people develop psoriatic
arthritis, which can cause severe joint damage. You’ll need to see a
rheumatologist for treatment if your dermatologist suspects this type of
also have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular
disease. Other possible complications of psoriasis include an increased risk
disease and Crohn's disease
psoriasis can develop anywhere on the body and become a widespread problem, you
may also deal with periods of low self-esteem, social isolation, and
no way to prevent psoriasis. You can reduce flare-ups by following your
doctor’s treatment plan and recommendations and by avoiding common triggers
like stress and smoking.
is a lifelong condition but it doesn't have to negatively impact the quality of
your life. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of psoriasis or if the
condition causes depression or mood problems.