Pso­ri­a­sis – the facts

Friday - - Living -

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

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