What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes rapid multiplication of skin cells. Generally, the life cycle of skin is one month, but during psoriasis, skin cells generate for every few days and lead to a buildup of skin cells. Whitish-silver scales form in red, thick patches. Redness and inflammation develop around the scales. Scales usually develop on joints, such as elbows and knees but may also develop in other places, including the scalp, face, neck, hands, or feet.
What are the causes of Psoriasis?
Although the exact causes of Psoriasis are unknown, there are two factors that play an important part in the development of Psoriasis:
- The immune system: Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body attacks its own cells. In Psoriasis, white blood cells (T cells) erroneously attack the skin cells.
What are the types of psoriasis?
Psoriasis can be of the following types:
- Plaque psoriasis: Plaque psoriasis is one of the most common types. It causes inflammation and red patches covered with whitish-silver plaques or scales on the scalp, elbows, and knees.
- Guttate psoriasis: Guttate is a common form of psoriasis in children. It causes small, unraised pink spots on the arms, torso, and legs.
- Pustular psoriasis: Pustular psoriasis is common in adults. It causes pus-filled white blisters and broad areas of red and inflamed skin on the hands or feet.
- Inverse psoriasis: Inverse psoriasis can cause red, shiny, and inflamed skin. Patches develop under armpits or breasts, groin, or around genitals skinfolds.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare and severe form of psoriasis. It covers large parts of the body at once. Scales that develop peel off in large sections. Erythrodermic psoriasis can be life-threatening.
What are the symptoms of psoriasis?
Some of the most common Psoriasis symptoms are:
- Red, inflamed and raised patches of skin
- Scales or plaques on the affected area
- Dry skin that might crack or bleed
- Burning or itching at the affected area
- Thick, ridged or pitted nails
- Painful, stiff or swollen joints
How can Psoriasis be diagnosed?
- Most Psoriasis cases can be easily diagnosed with a straightforward physical examination. Symptoms of psoriasis are distinctive and easy to differentiate from other skin conditions with similar symptoms.
- In case the symptoms are not clear, a skin biopsy may be used to examine under a microscope.
How can Psoriasis be treated?
Psoriasis treatment depends on the type of Psoriasis and the area affected. Some common treatment approaches for mild forms are:
- Steroid creams
- Moisturizers for dry skin
- Coal tar
- Vitamin-D cream or ointment
- Retinoid creams
For moderate to severe psoriasis, treatment options include:
- Light therapy: Ultraviolet light is used on the skin to slow skin cell growth
- Immunosuppressive medications
- Retinoids to reduce skin cell production
- Biologics: prevent immune system signals to inflammatory pathways
- Enzyme inhibitors: help to slow reactions that lead to inflammation