Itchy, burning, and stinging skin can be symptoms of various ailments, and one of these is psoriasis. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease which causes raised, red, and scaly patches to appear on the skin. Although it is still unknown what exactly causes psoriasis, it is said that the immune system and genetic play a major role in its development.
Psoriasis often develops between the ages of 15 to 35 years old, but it should be taken note that it may actually develop at any age. About 10 to 15 percent of those with psoriasis get it before the age 10. In fact, although rare, some some infants even have psoriasis.
However, don’t worry, psoriasis is not contagious. It is not something you can "catch" or that others can catch from you.
Certain triggers can make the symptoms worse. These triggers include: cold and dry weather, stress, certain medications, trauma to the skin, alcohol, and smoking. The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions.
Types of Psoriasis
Warning: Images of psoriasis may be too graphic. Google at your own risk.
Plaque psoriasis is an inherited systemic inflammatory disease of immune dysfunction. It is the most common form of the disease and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. These patches or plaques most often show up on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. They are often itchy and painful, and they may even crack and bleed if not moisturized properly. The plaques are characteristically found on the scalp, elbows, and knees.
Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that appears as small, salmon-pink bumps on the skin. It often starts in childhood or young adulthood, and can be triggered by a strep infection. This is the second-most common type of psoriasis, after plaque psoriasis. And about 10 percent of people who get psoriasis develop guttate psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis is a painful and difficult type of psoriasis that shows up as very red lesions in body folds, such as the armpits, genitals, and under the breasts or buttocks. Because these skin folds are called flexures, it also is known as flexural psoriasis. It may appear smooth and shiny.
Pustular psoriasis is an uncommon form of psoriasis that is characterized by white pustules (blisters of noninfectious pus) surrounded by red skin. The pus consists of white blood cells. It should be made clear that it is not an infection, nor is it contagious. Although pus is often a sign of infection, there is no evidence that infection plays any role in pustular psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, but occurs most often on the hands or feet.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly severe form of psoriasis that leads to widespread, fiery redness over most of the body. It is an aggressive and inflammatory form of psoriasis that can cause severe itching and pain, and make the skin come off in sheets. It is rare, occurring in 3 percent of people who have psoriasis. It generally appears on people who have unstable plaque psoriasis.
Used alone, creams and ointments that you apply to your skin can effectively treat mild to moderate psoriasis. When the disease is more severe, creams are likely to be combined with oral medications or light therapy. Remember that psoriasis treatments that can be used topically or orally should be prescribed by the doctor to get the best results.
A kind of therapy that you can also opt for is light therapy. The simplest and easiest form of phototherapy involves exposing your skin to controlled amounts of natural sunlight. Other forms of light therapy include the use of artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light, either alone or in combination with medications.
The diagnosis of psoriasis cannot be made by the patients themselves. So make sure to consult with your doctor so they’ll be able to provide you with reliable advice. And if you don’t have a doctor yet, don’t worry! SeeYouDoc has a varied array of doctors that you can choose from and filter through based on their location, specialization, and insurance.
References: National Psoriasis Foundation