What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease marked by red or silvery scaly patches of skin that itch, burn or are sore. These patches usually present on the elbows, knees, scalp, face, back, palms, fingernails and soles of the feet. Psoriasis is more common in adults and has several types:
- Plaque psoriasis: Itchy or painful raised red skin lesions covered with silvery scales
- Guttate psoriasis: Droplet-shaped lesions covered with fine scales on torso, limbs and scalp (more common in children and young adults)
- Inverse psoriasis: Smooth red, swollen patches in the armpits and groin, under the breasts and around the genitals
- Pustular psoriasis: Pustules appearing on hands, fingertips or feet
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: Itchy or burning red, peeling rash covering almost the whole body
What causes psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition. It is well known that some types of psoriasis have genetic links. Excess inflammation in the skin leads to very rapid turnover of the top layer of the skin ( the epidermis ) which leads to thickening, redness and scaling.
How is psoriasis treated?
Treatment depends on the type of psoriasis and any other medical conditions:
- Prescription creams (e.g., topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, anthralin, tazarotene, salicylic acid, coal tar)
- Oral medications for severe psoriasis (e.g., acitretin, methotrexate or cyclosporine.)
- Biologic medications (The most recently introduced drugs for psoriasis. Many of these are injections and only available for severe psoriasis, via specialist dermatologists)
Here at Kew Dermatology, we have a top-of-the-line Waldmann phototherapy cabinet for full-body treatment and another machine just for the hands and feet. (Note that our phototherapy treatments are bulk-billed.)
Click on the links below for further information on psoriasis:
British Association of Dermatologists (Psoriasis — An Overview)