Psoriasis Frequently Asked Questions

Psoriasis Frequently Asked Questions

man scratching psoriasisIf you keep up with celebrity news, you’ve probably seen psoriasis recently. Kim Kardashian has recently shared her struggle with the skin condition and brought it to the limelight. Even with this increased attention, though, there is still confusion about what psoriasis is and the difference between it and other similar conditions, like eczema. While skin irritation can be common, it’s important to know when you should see a doctor for your itchy skin.  

What is psoriasis? 

Psoriasis is an immune condition that causes the body to replenish skin cells quicker than is typical. While the body normally produces new skin cells in a matter of weeks, those with psoriasis develop new cells in days. This causes the thick, scaly patches most often associated with the disease. This type is called plaque psoriasis and is the most common, making up about 80-90% of all cases according to the American Academy of Dermatology 

Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body; however, it appears most commonly on the knees, elbows, scalp and lower back. Though symptoms can vary, the most common include dry skin, itchy, scaly patches and sore or painful skin. However, the type of psoriasis will also determine symptoms. Even though plaque psoriasis is the most frequent, there are other versions that include: 

  • Psoriatic arthritis: Sore, stiff, arthritic joints accompanied by the typical skin symptoms
  • Guttate: Small pink bumps that appear suddenly and usually clear with a few weeks or months 
  • Inverse: Common in areas with skin-on-skin contact (like the underarms) and can cause raw, painful skin 
  • Pustular: Small, pus-filled bumps that typically appear on the hands and feet 
  • von Zumbusch: Very rare and life-threatening, with the entire body covered in pus-filled bumps, followed by drying out and peeling away of skin 
  • Erythrodermic: Life-threatening, the entire body appears burnt and painful, with muscle weakness and chills, which can lead to hypothermia 
  • Nail: Can occur with any type of psoriasis and usually characterized by crumbling, dented or discolored nails 

 

Is there a cure for psoriasis? 

No, there is no cure. However, with advancing technology, the management of psoriasis has led to remission for many people. For many, the condition can be managed by avoiding triggers than can cause flare-ups. Though triggers may be specific to the type, many people experience flare-ups during cold weather, high stress and when certain food or drink is consumed, such as alcohol.   

Topical medications such as corticosteroids and retinol may also help manage symptoms. For those with severe psoriasis, oral or intravenous medications may be needed to help manage symptoms.  

When should I see a doctor for itchy skin? 

A board-certified dermatologist can diagnose and help create a treatment plan for psoriasis. If you have dry, itchy skin or hard patches on your skin, you should make an appointment to see your dermatologist. Your diagnosis depends on your symptoms. Depending on the type and severity, your dermatologist will prescribe a treatment regimen to help you manage symptoms.  

To sum it up 

Psoriasis is a chronic immune condition affecting the skin. Though there is no cure, symptoms can be affectively managed by a board-certified dermatologist. If you think you might have psoriasis or are having skin issues, it’s best to see your dermatologist. 

If you would like more information on Loven Dermatology or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 615-859.7546 or visit lovenderm.com