What is Psoriasis?


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. That means your immune system attacks healthy skin cells, which builds up and forms the scaly patches you see. There’s no cure, but treatment can ease your symptoms and improve the appearance of the patches.


Start with a basic moisturizer that will help keep your skin hydrated. You may also want to use a humidifier, especially in the winter.


Psoriasis can cause scaly patches to appear on your skin. These patchy areas are often red or pink with silvery-white scales. They may itch or burn. Patches usually develop on the elbows, knees, scalp, or other places where skin folds (such as under a sock). They may cover large areas of your body. Unlike eczema, which often has finer scales and is more itchy, psoriasis patches tend to be thicker and more defined.

The cause of psoriasis isn’t known, but it’s thought to be an immune system problem. In people with psoriasis, white blood cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake. This speeds up skin cell production and causes the scaly patches to form.

Different types of psoriasis can affect the appearance and severity of symptoms. Guttate psoriasis, the most common type, looks like small, red spots on your torso or limbs. It often flares after an infection, such as strep throat. Pustular psoriasis is less common and has pus-filled bumps on top of the plaques. Erythrodermic psoriasis is severe and can cover much of your body with a thick, scaly rash.

Your GP can diagnose psoriasis from your symptoms and family history. They might ask you to take a small sample of your skin, called a biopsy, and look at it under a microscope. If you have psoriatic arthritis, which sometimes occurs as a complication of the condition, they might refer you to a doctor who specialises in treating conditions affecting the joints (rheumatologist). They might also prescribe medicine that you put on your skin (topical medicines), such as creams and ointments.


Doctors can diagnose psoriasis from the appearance of the skin plaques. They can also look for other 강남피부과 signs of the condition, such as thickened nails or red scaly areas on the scalp or joints.

Most cases of psoriasis are mild and go in and out of remission, but severe forms of the disease can cover more than 10% of the body and cause painful and disfiguring scaling and scaly patches. The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which shows up as raised patches of thick, inflamed skin covered with silvery-white scales. It typically affects the elbows, knees, scalp, or lower back, but it can appear anywhere on the body.

The cause of psoriasis isn’t fully known, but it’s thought to be related to a problem with the immune system. This system destroys foreign invaders like bacteria to keep you healthy, but in people with psoriasis, it attacks healthy skin cells as well. It’s also thought that genetics plays a role in the condition, and about a third of people with psoriasis have a family member who has it.

Treatment usually involves creams and ointments applied to the affected areas of the skin. Other treatments include ultraviolet light therapy (UVB and PUVA), which uses UVA to slow the growth of new skin cells, and oral or injected medications that work throughout the body.


Psoriasis has a distinctive appearance that many primary care doctors can recognize, but to be sure you have psoriasis, you need a dermatologist (skin doctor). If your doctor suspects you have it, they may take a small sample of skin (a biopsy) and look at it under a microscope. They can also rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Psoriasis is caused by an immune system problem where infection-fighting cells grow too quickly and build up thick, dry, scaly patches on the skin. The exact cause isn’t known, but it’s thought to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The most common type, plaque psoriasis, causes red and silvery-white patches of skin on the scalp, knees, elbows, or other parts of the body. It may itch, crack, and bleed.

Several treatments can ease your symptoms and help prevent them from getting worse. These include creams and ointments that go on the skin, light therapy, medication to slow skin cell production, and oral or injected medicines.

People with psoriasis are at higher risk for serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and obesity. They’re also more likely to have an inflammatory condition that affects the joints, called psoriatic arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and following your doctor’s treatment plan can lower your risks.


There is no way to prevent psoriasis, but it’s important to protect your skin from sunburn, and avoid people and places that trigger flare-ups. You also might try keeping a healthy weight, and cutting back on smoking.

Scientists don’t know what causes psoriasis, but they think it starts when something triggers your immune system. This causes it to speed up your skin’s growth, causing the cells to form too quickly and build up on the surface of the skin in thick, dry patches. The scales can be itchy, and the affected areas can flake or bleed.

The most common type is plaque psoriasis, which causes itchy, red, raised skin patches (plaques) covered in scales. These patches appear on the elbows, knees, scalp or other parts of the body. They may vary in size, but are usually 2 to 3 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) wide. Other types of psoriasis include guttate, which looks like small drop-shaped spots; pustular, which cause clear, pus-filled blisters; and inverse psoriasis, which appears in skin creases or folds, such as around the armpits or breasts, or the groin area.

Many things can trigger psoriasis, including infections, cold weather, stress, certain medications (such as lithium or beta-blockers), and throat irritation or upper respiratory infections like bronchitis or the flu. Emotional stress and a low mood can make the condition worse, as can smoking and some foods.