Psoriasis

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition which results in areas of skin being replaced by newer skin more frequently. This leads to skin forming which is flaky in appearance, with a scaly like appearance and can be accompanied by inflammation causing redness in the affected area. There can be increased itchiness in affected areas and a sensation of burning as well.

The new skin created in areas affected by psoriasis, is not fully developed, that is, is has not undergone the 20 or so days skin normally takes to form in. Instead, this skin is premature as it has only had a few days to develop. This premature skin, can become flaky and appear to have a scale like skin texture.

This skin condition is not infectious and can be prolonged or appears in bouts.

What causes psoriasis?

It is not clear what causes psoriasis but it is believed to be an auto-immune condition where body attacks itself. Causing damage to skin cells, which are then replaced quickly by the body. This damage and replacement of skin cells can become a regular cycle of events, causing the psoriasis symptoms.

Symptoms

The symptoms of psoriasis can include burning sensations in the areas affected, red skin patches, blisters, skin becoming flaky and having a scale like appearance.

Cure

A psoriasis cure does not exist but further research on the disease promises to find out more about the effective treatments and possibly the causes.

Treatments

Psoriasis treatments vary on the severity of the condition and the affected areas being treated. Treatments include creams, photo-therapy to medication

Medication to treat the condition works on the principle of trying to reduce the immune systems attack on the bodies skin cells.

Photo-therapy works by emitting Ultra Violet (UV) light on affected areas

Plaque psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of this disease and symptoms cause red lesions, called plaques, with dry scaly skin.

Guttate psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis causes sores to appear on the body, predominantly around the limbs, chest and on the scalp.

Scalp psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis as the name suggests forms on the scalp and causes scaly skin to appear either as patches or in some cases across the whole scalp area.

Medicated shampoos and/or medical solutions are generally applied to keep this condition under control.

Nail psoriasis

Nail psoriasis as the name suggests affects the nails causing discolouration, pitting and abnormal growth. In severe cases, the nails can come away from the finger tips or crumble.

Inverse (flexural) psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis affects the folds in the skin especially around the armpits, the groin area, below the breasts and in between the buttocks. This condition can be aggravated by sweating, causing excessive itching.

Pustular psoriasis

With pustular psoriasis, blisters appear on affected areas. These blisters contain pus and when they burst, the not yet fully developed skin beneath is exposed, leading to temporary skin damage. The skin damage itself can be quite painful and include bleeding.

Other forms of pustular psoriasis include acropustulosis, palmoplantar pustular psoriasis and generalised pustular psoriasis (von Zumbusch psoriasis).

Erythrodermic psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis can affect the skin all over the body, causing severe itching, with burning sensations. This condition is rare, however, those affected, run the risk of dehydration and malnutrition, as fluid loss is a common symptom.