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What is Psoriasis?

My Doctor Finder
July 21, 2017

This non-contagious, persistent and unpredictable skin disease is the enemy of many. Psoriasis is characterized by thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches. These scales typically occur on the knees, elbows, and scalp, which could also spread to the torso, palms, and soles of the feet.

While the cause of psoriasis is still unknown, researchers say that problems in the immune system, environment, stress, and genetic factors play roles in the formation of the disease. There are seven types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque psoriasis – Most common type which causes raised, inflamed, red skin covered with white, silvery scales. These patches may be painful as it tends to be itchy.
  • Guttate psoriasis – Causes small, pink-red spots on the skin. This type may go away within a few weeks, even without treatment.
  • Inverse psoriasis – Bright red, smooth, and shiny, but don't have scales. It is particularly subject to irritation from rubbing and sweating because of its location in skin folds and tender areas.
  • Pustular psoriasis – Characterized by white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – Rare type of psoriasis which affects most of the body. It can cause severe itching and pain, and make the skin come off in sheets.
  • Nail psoriasis – Symptoms may include the following: pitting of the nails, separation of the nail from the nail bed, color changes (yellow-brown), and appearance of chalk-like material under the nails.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – Causes pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints.

Treatment for psoriasis is determined by the type, severity, and amount of skin involved. Topical medication (cream, lotion, sprays) may be applied to the affected area if it involves a small part of the body. If the disease involves much larger parts of the body, ultra violet light therapy may be used. If other treatments fail, oral medication is always an option. There is also a natural way of treating psoriasis. Natural sunlight, ocean water, aloe vera, fish oil, Dead Sea salts, cayenne and dieting may also play a role in psoriasis treatment.

Reference:

Jaliman, D. (2015). Understanding Psoriasis -- the Basics. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/understanding-psoriasis-basics#1.