Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes your body to produce and shed skin cells more rapidly than normal.

Usually your skin takes 28 to 30 days to form new cells, but with psoriasis, it takes four to eight days. Your body cant shed the cells fast enough to keep up, and thick layers of the skin called plaques, are formed.

Psoriasis is typically a chronic disease meaning that you'll probably have occasional flare-ups throughout your life. Fortunately, most cases can be controlled and are mild with plaques forming only on the scalp, elbows, hands and knees. It's rare that psoriasis covers large areas of the body or is difficult to treat.

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Psoriasis Facts

  • Psoriasis appears symmetrically, like mirror images on both sides of the body.
  • It typically begins with a series of red bumps. Gradually these bumps grow larger and turn into plaques that are red and have silver scales.
  • They're typically round. Sometimes they look like small donuts with clear centers, other times like rough oyster shells. Often the plaques itch. However, you shouldn't scratch them because they can become irritated and inflamed. Sometimes the skin cracks which can be extremely painful.

Treating Psoriasis

Dermatologist care is recommended for treating psoriasis. Treatments include:

  • Creams
  • Ointments
  • Cortisone Injections
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral Drugs
  • Ultraviolet Light Therapy

How Do You Get Psoriasis?

It is not certain how psoriasis is caused, but it tends to run in families, and is not contagious. It affects both men and women most often between the ages of 15 and 35. Many times people experience their first attack or flare-up about 10 to 14 days after their skin has been cut, scratched, rubbed or severely sunburned. Psoriasis can also be triggered by emotional stress, infections and by some drugs. Psoriasis can't be prevented, but treating it can help slow the rate at which your skin cells develop.

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