Psoriasis: Chronic Discomfort

A skin disorder influenced by the immune system, psoriasis causes scaling and inflammation in up to 7 and a half million people in the United States. It occurs when skin renews itself too quickly, and immature skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin.

Psoriasis usually causes patches of thick, red skin covered with silvery scales. These patches, called plaques, itch, are sore, and frequently occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face and palms.

Psoriasis treatment depends on the severity of the disease and its symptoms. Topical steroids and retinoids, light treatment and oral medications are all options.

Talking to Your Dermatologist About Psoriasis

Since it looks like many other dermatological diseases, psoriasis can sometimes be hard to diagnose. Your dermatologist may take a small biopsy to make a conclusive diagnosis.

When deciding on a treatment, you and your dermatologist may discuss the severity of the condition, your age and medical history, the disease's effect on your physical comfort and psychological well-being, and where the psoriasis plaques are located.