What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an unpredictable chronic skin disease that roughly affects 7.5 to 8.5 million people in the U.S. Psoriasis is not a contagious disease however, it is unpredictable and flare ups could occur weekly or monthly.

It causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red, dry patches of thickened skin. There is certainly no cure for psoriasis. About 80% of people with psoriasis live with plaque psoriasis, which is also known as psoriasis vulgaris.

There are five types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque Psoriasis: is the most common type of psoriasis and has patches of oval shaped red plaques
  • Guttate Psoriasis: Looks like small, salmon- pink drops on the skin
  • Inverse Psoriasis: Patches that appear in the skin folds Ex) armpits and groin
  • Pustular Psoriasis: Uncommon form of psoriasis which creates red bumps on the skin filled with pus and surrounding skin is red
  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis: Skin’s surface affected by inflammation, redness and scaling.

What causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is not fully understood however, there are two hypotheses for psoriasis. The first one is that excessive skin growth is due to the fault of the epidermis and keratinocyes. The second hypothesis is that T-cells migrate to the dermis and release cytokines which cause inflammation and rapid production of skin cells. Although psoriasis is not contagious, it has a large hereditary component associated with genes; however it is unclear how they work together.

Symptoms of psoriasis

Psoriasis is not completely understood however if these signs are present; seek an appointment with a dermatologist immediately.

  • Patches of thick, scaly skin that may be red, white, or silvery
  • Most common places for psoriasis to occur is on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp
  • Psoriasis also can affect nails and joints. Early treatment can prevent joint psoriasis

Is Psoriasis contagious?

Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be contracted simply by touching another that has the disease or having intimate contact however, children whose parents have Psoriasis can easily contract the disease.

Treatment for psoriasis

The best treatment is determined individually by a dermatologist or physician. Mild psoriasis, which covers less than 10% of the body) can be treated by using skin applied creams, lotions and sprays. Moderate psoriasis, which covers 20% of the body, requires pills, light treatments or injections. All the possible treatments are dependent on the patient however, patients must keep in mind that not all medications work or are hundred percent safe. It is important to consult a dermatologist to understand what medication works specifically for an individual.

Possible Medications:

Here are a few possible medications that a physician can give a patient to lessen the redness or pain:

Tropical (skin applied) medication:

  • Tropical corticosteroids
  • Vitamin D analogue
  • Creams
  • Tropical immunomodulators

Oral medications: