Family Health

Psoriasis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Aug 14 • 2015

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, so we have compiled everything you need to know about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this long-term skin issue. Psoriasis causes skin cells to grow too quickly, which leads to patches of skin that are thick, white, red, or silvery. They can range in size and typically appear on the elbows, knees, hands, scalp, feet, or lower back. While children and teenagers can get it, it is most often found in adults.

Causes of Psoriasis
In some cases, psoriasis runs in families. However, experts also believe that psoriasis occurs when the immune system overacts. This causes the inflammation and flaking of the skin. Flare-ups can occur because of cold, dry weather, other infections, dry skin, medication side effects, and stress. The important thing to note is that psoriasis is not contagious – it cannot be spread from one person to another through touch.

Psoriasis Symptoms
Psoriasis can range in severity, causing it to appear in different ways. If it is a mild case, people may only experience small areas of rash. If it is a moderate or severe case, the skin will become inflamed in several areas. This causes red areas topped with loose, scaling skin to be itchy and tender. Sometimes multiple patches join together to overtake a large area of skin. In addition to this, psoriatic arthritis can occur. This happens when joints become tender, painful, and swollen.

Psoriasis Treatment
There are several treatment options available for psoriasis. The one your doctor recommends will depend on the type and severity of your outbreak:

  • Topical treatments applied directly to the skin
  • Phototherapy treatment
  • Vitamin A treatments
  • Antineoplastic agents
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Biologic therapies

If you suffer from psoriasis, speak with your doctor to determine what kind of treatment will work best for your needs.