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Learn more about Psoriasis

Psoriasis

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an immune mediated condition causing thick, red, scaly plaques to develop on the skin.  Psoriasis can occur at any age and tends to be chronic with periods of flares and remission.   

The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis which manifests with large plaques, commonly affecting the elbows, knees, and lower back.  There are several other different types of psoriasis which include guttate, palmoplantar, nail, and erythrodermic psoriasis.  Occasionally psoriasis can affect your joints.  This condition is called psoriatic arthritis.  

There are many treatments available for psoriasis.  Topical therapy with topical steroids, vitamin D analogues, and multiple other options may be helpful.  Systemic therapy with methotrexate, apremilast (Otezla), and others is also an option.  Sometimes, your dermatologist will suggest a biologic injectable medication.  These are newer, targeted therapies which can be highly effective. 

There is no cure for psorasis.  The goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms and to get your skin as clear as it can be.

 

Psoriasis FAQs

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder in which a special cell becomes overactive and causes inflammation.  In psoriasis, skin cells mature abnormally and pile up on the outer surface of the skin, causing the plaques characteristic of the condition.  

What causes psoriasis?

The cause of psoriasis is unknown. Psoriasis has a genetic link and tends to run in families.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

Psoriasis typically appears as red, scaly, thickened plaques. The most commonly involved areas are the knees, elbows, and scalp, but it can appear anywhere on the body. When psoriasis appears in skin folds or on the genitalia it does not have the thick scale it does elsewhere on the body. It may appear more smooth and shiny.

Psoriasis is usually only mildly itchy.  Occasionally psoriasis plaques can crack and ooze, but infection is rare. 

What is the treatment for psoriasis?

There are many treatments available for psoriasis.  Topical therapy with topical steroids, vitamin D analogues, and multiple other options may be helpful.  Systemic therapy with methotrexate, apremilast (Otezla), and others is also an option.  Sometimes, your dermatologist will suggest a biologic injectable medication.  These are newer, targeted therapies which can be highly effective. 

Is psoriasis contagious?

No, psoriasis is not contagious.