Psoriasis – the facts
What is it?
This skin condition occurs when skin-cell production speeds up so that instead of being replaced every three to four months the process lasts only three to seven days. There are several different types of psoriasis, the most common being plaque psoriasis, which features dry, red patches covered in silvery scales. Pustular psoriasis – where watery blisters appear before peeling off – can affect different parts of the body, although the particular type known as palmoplantar pustular psoriasis is confined to the palms and soles and pustules may reappear every few days.
What causes it?
While not fully understood, it’s believed psoriasis is caused by a problem with the immune system. There can also be a genetic link. The problem mostly begins in adults aged under 35 and may be triggered by a skin injury, throat infections, smoking, stress, or certain medicines. It is not contagious.
What are the usual treatments?
Topical treatments (creams and ointments) are tried first – often corticosteroids. Phototherapy (exposure to ultraviolet light) may help some. For severe cases oral or injected medication may be advised.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of
this skin condition