What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder, is a chronic skin condition. It is characterized by inflamed, red, raised areas that often develop into silvery scales on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back and can also be associated with arthritis.

Causes of This Condition

The cause of psoriasis is unknown; however, it is thought to be caused by abnormally fast-growing and shedding skin cells. The skin cells multiply quickly causing the skin to shed every 3 to 4 days. This may be caused by a trigger, such as injury, sunburn, certain classes of medicines, infection, stress, alcohol, or tobacco and is hereditary. 


The following are the most common symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis comes in several forms and severities.

Types and symptom include:

  • Plaque psoriasis.This type of psoriasis is the most common. Symptoms may include patches of red, raised skin on the trunk, arms, legs, knees, elbows, genitals, and scalp. Nails may also thicken, become pitted, and separate from the nail beds.

  • Guttate psoriasis. This type of psoriasis affects mostly children. Symptoms may include many small spots of red, raised skin. A sore throat usually proceeds the onset of this type of psoriasis.

  • Pustular psoriasis.Symptoms may include small pustules (pus-containing blisters) all over the body or just on the palms, soles, and other small areas.

The symptoms of psoriasis may look like other skin conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.


Specific treatment for psoriasis will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Tolerance of Specific medicines, procedures, or therapies            
  • Severity of the condition
  • Expectations for the course of the treatment
  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to reduce itching and inflammation, slow down the rapid growth and shedding of skin cells, keep skin moist, and prevent infection. At the present time, there is no cure for psoriasis.