Ms. Renuka Fernando
By: Lakni Jayasinghe
Table of Contents
What is Psoriasis?3
Different types of Psoriasis4
Symptoms of Psoriasis6
How is Psoriasis diagnosed?7
How can Psoriasis be treated?8
Can Psoriasis be spread?9
Things that can cause Psoriasis symptoms to flare10
Medical Treatments: Topical Agents11
Medical Treatments: Systematic Agents: (Drugs taken within the body)12 Medical Treatments: Phototherapy (light therapy)13
Facts about Psoriasis14
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a long-term skin problem that causes skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin. Normally, skin cells grow gradually and flake off about every 4 weeks. New skin cells grow to replace the outer layers of the skin as they shed. But in psoriasis, new skin cells move rapidly to the surface of the skin in days rather than weeks. They build up and form thick patches called plaques. The patches range in size from small to large. They most often appear on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or lower back. Psoriasis is most common in adults. But children and teens can get it too. Psoriasis typically looks like red or pink areas of thickened, raised, and dry skin. It classically affects areas over the elbows, knees, and scalp. Essentially any body area may be involved. It tends to be more common in areas of trauma, repeat rubbing, use, or abrasions. Psoriasis has many different appearances. It may be small flattened bumps, large thick plaques of raised skin, red patches, and mildly dry pink skin to big flakes of dry skin that flake off.
Different types of Psoriasis
Psoriasis vulgaris is the medical name for the most common form of psoriasis ("vulgaris" means common). About 80% of people with psoriasis have this type. It is also called plaque psoriasis because of the characteristic plaques on the skin: well-defined patches of red raised skin that can appear on any area of skin, although the knees, elbows, scalp, trunk, and nails are the most common locations. The flaky silvery white buildup on top of the plaques is called scale; it is composed of dead skin cells. This scale comes loose and sheds constantly from the plaques.
Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that looks like small, salmon-pink drops on the skin. The word guttate is derived from the Latin word gutta, meaning drop. Usually there is a fine scale on the droplike lesion that is much finer than the scales in plaque psoriasis, the most common type of psoriasis. The trigger to the disease is often a preceding streptococcal (bacterial) infection. The eruption of the lesions on the skin usually happens about two to three weeks after the person has strep throat. The outbreak can go away and not reoccur.
Inverse psoriasis consists of bright red, smooth (not scaly) patches found in the folds of the skin. The most common areas are under the breasts, in the armpits, near the genitals, under the buttocks, or in abdominal folds. These irritated and inflamed areas are aggravated by the sweat and skin rubbing together in the folds. Yeast overgrowth, common in skin folds, may trigger the skin lesions of psoriasis.
This is the least common type of psoriasis and can be quite serious. A very large area of the body, if not most of the body, is bright red and inflamed. The body can appear to be covered in a peeling red rash. The rash usually itches or burns.
Psoriasis of the Scalp
The scalp may have fine, dry, scaly skin or have heavily crusted plaque areas. The plaque can flake off or peel off in crusted clumps. Sometimes psoriasis of the scalp is confused with seborrheic dermatitis. A key difference is that in seborrheic dermatitis, the scales are greasy looking, not dry.