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What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease affecting 2% of the population. It occurs equally in men and women, can appear at any age, and tends to come and go unpredictably. It is not infectious, therefore you cannot catch it from someone else.

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How does it look?

The skin changes of psoriasis (often known as plaques) are pink or red areas with silvery-white scales. Many people have just a few plaques but some individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis may have several plaques covering large areas of their body. Apart from the skin, psoriasis can also affect the scalp, nails and the joints (psoriatic arthritis). It can be itchy or even painful and can be particularly uncomfortable, when it affects the genital area.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause is unknown, but psoriasis is thought to be partly genetic, as it often runs in families and partly influenced by environmental factors.

For many individuals factors such infections, stress, alcohol and/or smoking have a role triggering flares of psoriasis. Certain medications such as beta blockers (used to treat high blood pressure and angina), lithium and tablets used to treat malaria, can also cause psoriasis to flare. The relationship between diet and psoriasis has not been fully established, but obesity is associated with psoriasis and exercise and losing weight can be beneficial.

Can psoriasis be treated?

Psoriasis is a long-term (chronic) condition and so far, there is no permanent cure for it. However, there are many treatments that can successfully manage psoriasis. The choice of treatments depends on many factors including the severity of psoriasis, individual general health and lifestyle factors. Your dermatologist will assess you and advice on the best treatment for you.

Broadly there are 3 types of treatments:

Topicals – these are creams, lotions, gels that contain emollients, topical steroids and Vitamin D derivatives such as calcipotriol.

Phototherapy – controlled ultraviolet light treatment

Systemic (internal)- medication that suppresses the immunity in the form of tablets or injections.

How can I get some help and advice?

Book a consultation with one of our dermatologists. All of our Consultants are very experienced in managing psoriasis and we will find the best treatment to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Where can I read more on psoriasis?—an-overview

The Psoriasis Association
Dick Coles House
2 Queensbridge
Northampton, NN4 7BF
Tel: 0845 676 0076
Website: Psoriasis Association