Psoriasis is a skin disorder, which is an autoimmune disease.
Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.
It typically occurs on the knees, elbows, and scalp, as well as on the nails and it can also affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet. Psoriasis can also be found on the eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, and in skin folds.
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor –
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
- Small, scaling spots
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
- Itching, burning, or soreness
- Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
The causes of psoriasis include –
- Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections
- Injury to the skin (cuts, scrapes, bug bites, or severe sunburn)
- Cold weather
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Certain medications
A variety of factors can cause an episode of psoriasis, including anything from trauma and emotional stress to streptococcal infection. The key cause of psoriasis is said to be some abnormality in the immune system.
There are no special blood tests or tools to diagnose psoriasis. A dermatologist usually examines the affected skin and determines if it is psoriasis. If the symptoms are unclear or if your doctor wants to confirm their diagnosis, a biopsy may be done with a small skin sample.
Psoriasis can be mild, moderate, or severe. Treatment will depend on how severe your psoriasis is. The severity of psoriasis is based on how much of your body is affected.
Topical treatments, such as moisturisers, over-the-counter and prescription creams, and shampoos, are generally used to treat mild psoriasis. Moderate to severe psoriasis usually involves using a combination of treatment strategies to treat it.
Light therapy may be prescribed along with topical treatments. Light therapy or topical treatments are often used when psoriasis is only limited to a specific part of the body. If it is widespread or greatly affects your quality of life, a doctor might prescribe oral or injectable drugs.
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission.