What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes the body to make new skin cells within days rather than weeks. This causes cells to build up quickly on the surface of the skin, forming visible scales and red patches. It is a chronic disease that can wax and wane, but unfortunately there is no cure. Children are less affected than adults, but it can develop at any age. The symptoms can be managed with treatments, however, and certain lifestyle measures can help.
What are the causes?
The cause of psoriasis is not known. There is often a family history. The scalp, elbows, and knees are the most common sites, but almost any part of the skin can be affected. Psoriasis is not contagious.
Psoriasis usually begins in young adulthood, although it can start in childhood or first appear in old age. Psoriasis is unpredictable; patches may clear up by themselves and even disappear for months or years.
- Red patches of skin covered with white, thick scales
- Itching for some people
- Small scaling spots (among children)
- Stiff or swollen joints, symptoms of arthritis
- Nail changes
To diagnose psoriasis, a dermatologist will need to take a history and examine your skin and nails for signs and symptoms. Usually that is enough to make a diagnosis.
If you do have psoriasis, a treatment plan will need to be created to meet your individual needs. Your dermatologist will consider the type of psoriasis you have, the places it appears on your body, the severity of the symptoms, and other medical conditions that you have. Your treatment plan might include medication that you’ll apply to your skin, skincare advice, and tips for preventing future flare-ups. Psoriasis can be treated topically, orally, with light therapy, or with injectable medications depending on the individual case.
Request an appointment
If you suffer from psoriasis, schedule an appointment today. Our board-certified dermatologists will create a treatment plan for you and schedule follow-appointments in order to see if modifications are needed. To get started, request an appointment online or give us a call at (781) 272-7022.