Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects more 7 million Americans, and ranges in severity from mild to extremely severe. Psoriasis causes cells to build up on the skin’s surface too quickly forming thick, scaly skin patches.
Psoriasis symptoms typically depend on the type, and severity, which may include:
- Red, raised patches or plaques of skin that can crack or bleed
- Loose, silvery scales
- Burning, itching or soreness
- Crusted plaques on the scalp
- Nail discoloration, thickening and pitting
- Swollen and stiff joints
TYPES OF PSORIASIS
- PLAQUE PSORIASIS: dry, red skin plaques or raised patches with silvery scales
- GUTTATE PSORIASIS: commonly triggered by strep throat infection and looks like smaller, tear-drop shaped scaly spots. Typically occurs in young adults and children.
- INVERSE PSORIASIS: less scaling and larger areas of inflamed, dry skin
- PUSTULAR PSORIASIS: scaly plaques with sores and may include nail symptoms
- ERYTHRODERMIC PSORIASIS: bright red, inflamed rash that burns, itches and affects majority of the body
- PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS: involves joint stiffness, swelling and pain
PSORIASIS CAUSES & TRIGGERS
The immune system and genetics play major roles in developing psoriasis but there are usually triggers which initiate flares. The autoimmune process causes the skin cells shed at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of thick, red, scaly plaques. Some common triggers of psoriasis flares are illnesses that weaken the immune system like strep infection, stress, and physical trauma.
- Topical corticosteroids: creams or ointments to reduce inflammation
- Topical salicylic acid: to remove thick scales
- Vitamin D analogues: complements topical steroid treatments
- Intra-lesional injections: directly into the areas of psoriasis
- Excimer Laser
Would you like to learn more about Psoriasis? Call (254) 399-6941 to schedule a consultation at GunterMD Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center.