Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin condition with persistent red patches covered with thick, silvery scale. It typically affects the elbows, knees, trunk, scalp, palms and soles. It can also affect the nails. The cause is not known; however it tends to run in families and may be due to an overactive immune response. It is not an infection or contagious to other people.
Psoriasis is often triggered or worsened by several factors. These include stress, strep infection, and oral medications. It tends to flare or worsen during the winter due to low humidity, cold air, and lack of sunlight exposure. Some psoriasis patients notice the Koebner phenomenon, which refers to the appearance of new skin lesions at sites of skin trauma.
It is estimated that 10-30% of psoriasis patients also develop painful, stiff, or swollen joints called psoriatic arthritis. It can develop at any time, but it appears between the ages of 30 and 50 in most patients. It is important to tell your Dermatologist if you experience these symptoms because early recognition and treatment can prevent progressive joint deformity.
Your provider can create a treatment plan personalized to specific needs and disease severity. New therapeutic advances are giving new hope to patients who suffer from this disease.
Psoriasis treatments include:
- Topical Creams and Ointments
- Occlusive skin wraps
- Oral Medications (Otezla, Soriatane, Methotrexate)
- Narrowband UVB Phototherapy
- Biologic Injectables (Stelara, Cosentyx, Humira, Enbrel)