Psoriasis: What is it?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which cells build up to form red, scaly, itchy patches of skin.

Psoriasis is common and can be treated by topical creams and medications, along with laser light therapy, however there is no cure. While there is still research being done, scientists have found psoriasis is the result of different factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system.

Genetic Factors

One out of three people with psoriasis have reported a family member or relative with the disease. Scientists have identified 25 genetic variants that make a person more likely to develop psoriatic disease. Scientists also believe that at least 10% of the general population inherits one of more genes that create a pre-disposition to psoriasis, with 2-3% developing the disease.

Environmental Factors

There are several known environmental triggers of psoriasis. Stress can cause both the initial flare-up of psoriasis, and aggravate existing psoriasis. Cuts, scrapes, bug bites, severe sunburns, and even vaccinations can cause a psoriatic flare up. Certain medications, including lithium, antimalarials, quinidine, and indomethacin can all trigger a flare up.

When a person has psoriasis, their immune system is working double which causes the inflammation and overproduction of skin cells. These cells push to the surface, leaving the symptoms seen on the skin. The body is unable to shed skin cells as quickly as they are being produced, resulting in red, scaly skin.

Treatment Options

Contrary to popular belief, psoriasis is not contagious and there are many effective treatment options at Anne Arundel Dermatology.

Talk to your Dermatologist if you have psoriasis, or symptoms of psoriasis. Request an appointment online.

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