Everything You Need to Know About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is the chronic development of red or purplish dry, itchy patches on the skin that is surrounded by whitish silver looking scales. Psoriasis occurs as a result of a fast excess buildup of skin cells on the skin due to the autoimmune attack of the skin. This fast buildup of skin cells leaves no time for dead skin cells to fall off before producing new ones, overtime skin cells stack upon each other and create this scaly patch that is painful.

Psoriasis is an itchy scaly disease that can bleed during itching. Its usual onset in adulthood. 

There are six types of psoriasis:

  1. Plaque psoriasis (Vulgaris psoriasis): is psoriasis seen in 80% of psoriatic cases. It is characterized by red swollen patches covered with thick whitish silver plaques. They are mostly seen on the scalp, knees, elbows, palms, and oral cavity. 
  2. Guttate psoriasis is a drop like the appearance of skin rashes that are small in size. It is usually triggered by upper respiratory tract infection, for example, strep throat infection, and it is seen mostly in children and young adults. Guttate psoriasis is more common on the back, limbs, and scalp.
  3. Psoriatic arthritis: is the presence of a koebner phenomenon (which is skin changes along a line of trauma) with severely swollen joints, joint pain with intense morning stiffness. It affects large joints the most, such as knees, spine and hip joints
  4. Erythrodermic psoriasis:   is an itchy, red, peeling rash that affects every surface of the skin (From face to lower extremities).
  5. Inverse psoriasis (flexural psoriasis): appear as smooth red patches of skin that gets worse with sweat, heat, and friction. They are mainly seen in between skin folds such as the armpit, between the buttocks (gluteal folds), genitals (groin and thigh areas), ears and under the breasts
  6. Pustular psoriasis: are swollen widespread non-infectious pustules formation on the skin with red, tender demarcation around the pustules. Pustular psoriasis is rare, but when it occurs, it has an affinity for small areas such as fingertips, in between the toes and fingers.

General signs and symptoms of all types of psoriasis include:

  • Dry, cracked, whitish scaly skin with presence of plaque, patches and/or papules
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Soreness
  • Nail changes such as Nail pitting, Onycholysis (separation of nailbed), Salmon patch (is a tender yellowish-red discoloration of the nailbeds), Ruptured capillaries underneath the nails and Subungual hyperkeratosis: (a scaly buildup of skin underneath the nails that cause the nail plate to lift up from the nailbed).

Diagnosis of Psoriasis include:

  • Diagnosis Is based on skin changes, family history, and the presence of other trigger factors. 
  • X-ray of joints in psoriatic arthritis
  • Biopsy of skin cells.

Treatment of Psoriasis

There’s no cure for psoriasis, but various treatments can reduce the number of flare-ups. The treatments include: 

  • Topical corticosteroids.
  • Topical retinoids.
  • Paricalcitol (Vitamin D analogs)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Mineral oil
  • Phototherapy
  • Methotrexate
  • Ciclosporin
  • Biologics such as infliximab, adalimumab, and efalizumab

The preference for treatment is carried out by a dermatologist. First of all, the dermatologist will advise you to reduce anxiety and eliminate the most allergenic foods from your diet. 

Facts About Psoriasis

  • Having psoriasis predisposed a person to several other issues such as conjunctivitis, uveitis, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and depression.
  • The precise cause of psoriasis is not clear, although it is classified under autoimmune diseases because of the autoimmune destruction of skin cells that take place in psoriasis.
  • The genetic link is an essential factor. The chances of having psoriasis increase in a person when there are members of the family who has psoriasis.
  • Oral corticosteroid is not used in psoriasis because they cause a severe flare-up when withdrawn. 
  • In a healthy skin cell process, dead skin cells take about 30 days to fall off for new ones to replace them. In psoriasis, the dead skin cells do not have enough time to fall off because new skin cells form every 2 – 4 days leading to excess skin buildup.

Lastly, If you assume you are exhibiting any symptoms of psoriasis, be sure to check in with your dermatologist for a proper check-up.