Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that currently affects more than 7.5 million Americans. Of the various autoimmune disorders, psoriasis is the most common in our country.
What causes psoriasis?
Although psoriasis affects the skin, it originates in a faulty immune response. For no apparent reason, skin cells are produced at a much faster rate than normal. Because new cells accumulate so quickly, they build up on top of old cells, causing the skin to become thick and irritated in places.
Psoriasis causes patches of noticeable inflammation that can be difficult to hide. Many people affected by this condition experience deep emotional upset. An accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment for psoriasis is important to restore self-esteem. When treating this condition, we also seek to minimize the risk of associated health concerns such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. When you visit a board-certified dermatologist, you are well on your way to gaining control over your skin’s health and appearance.
There are a number of different types of psoriasis. The most common, which causes plaques to develop on the skin, is psoriasis vulgaris. During a flare up, this condition can lead to areas of raised, red skin marked by “scales” that look silver. It tends to develop on the scalp, back, elbows, and knees. Plaques may form or worsen during times of stress.
A type of psoriasis that may develop during childhood, guttate psoriasis can affect the limbs or the torso, and may begin or worsen in response to conditions such as strep throat, respiratory infection, tonsillitis, stress, injury, or certain medications.
Inverse psoriasis can cause shiny, bright red lesions to form in the skin folds under the arm, below breasts, or in the groin area. Sweat is the instigating factor in this type of psoriasis.
Pustular psoriasis typically affects the hands and feet. However, it can develop anywhere on the body. Triggers for pustular psoriasis, in which blisters form on irritated skin, include pregnancy, sunburn, infection, and certain medications.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is the type that causes the most inflammation. This condition may affect expansive areas, causing intense irritation and redness and extensive shedding of the skin. Erythrodermic psoriasis is one of the least common forms, but can be very serious. Immediate medical care is necessary to resolve a flare-up.