Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes flaky patches of skin which forms scales. These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body.
People with psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells. Skin cells are normally made and replaced every 3 to 4 weeks, but in psoriasis this process only takes about 3 to 7 days. The resulting build-up of skin cells is what creates the patches associated with psoriasis. Although the process is not fully understood, it's thought to be related to a problem with the immune system.
Psoriasis typically causes patches of skin that are dry and covered in scales. On brown, black and white skin the patches can look pink or red, and the scales white or silvery. On brown and black skin the patches can also look purple or dark brown, and the scales may look grey. Some people find their psoriasis causes itching or soreness.
Treatments are determined by the type and severity of your psoriasis, and the area of skin affected. Your doctor will probably start with a mild treatment, such as topical creams applied to the skin, and then move on to stronger treatments if necessary. Treatment fall into 3 categories:
Topical – creams and ointments applied to your skin
Phototherapy – your skin is exposed to certain types of ultraviolet light
Systemic – oral and injected medications that work throughout the entire body.
Although psoriasis is just minor irritation for some people, it can significantly impact quality of life for those more severely affected. Self-care is essential part of the daily lives of psoriasis patients. It involves taking responsibility for your own health and wellbeing, with support from those involved in your care. Self-care includes staying fit and a healthy weight, maintaining good physical and mental health, preventing illness or accidents, and caring more effectively for minor illnesses and long term conditions.
Reference: National Health Service (NHS) UK
Psoriasis - NHS (www.nhs.uk)