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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a persistent skin disorder in which there are red, thickened areas with silvery scales, most often on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Severe psoriasis may cover large areas of the body. Dermatologists can help even the most severe cases. Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another, but it is most likely to occur in members of the same family.

What causes Psoriasis?

The cause is unknown. However, recent discoveries point to an abnormality in the functioning of special white cells (T-Cells) which trigger inflammation and the immune response in the skin.

Psoriasis can be activated by infections, such as strep throat and by certain medicines (beta blockers, lithium, etc). Flare-ups sometimes occur in the winter as a result of dry skin and lack of sunlight.

Your dermatologist may prescribe medications to apply on the skin which contain cortisone, synthetic vitamin D analogues, retinoids (vitamin A derivative), tar, or anthralin. These may be used in combination with natural sunlight or ultraviolet light. The more severe forms of psoriasis may require oral or injectable medications with or without light treatment.

Treatments:

Topical therapy

  • Corticosteroids
  • Vitamin D analogues
  • Retinoids
  • Calcineurin inhibitors
  • Salicylic acid

Systemic therapy

  • Acitretin
  • Apremilast
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate
  • Biologics