Psoriasis is a disease in which excessive skin cell production causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. The skin disease is not contagious and may begin at any age, but most of the time it starts during young adulthood. Psoriasis has no cure. Treatments aim to reduce inflammation and scaling.
Symptoms of psoriasis
Psoriasis vulgaris is the most common form of psoriasis. It is characterised by:
- Clearly defined, white or red patches of skin, often with a silver or white scaly layer.
- Patches that can be itchy or painful.
- Pus-filled blisters that may appear on top of the patches.
Psoriasis vulgaris may occur anywhere on the body, but it often appears on the knees, elbows and lower back. Other forms of psoriasis are psoriasis capitis (extreme scaling of hairy scalp), inverse psoriasis (red lesions in the folds of the skin) and guttate psoriasis (small, drop-like spots on the whole body).
How to treat psoriasis
To reduce inflammation of the skin, psoriasis is typically treated with a cream or ointment containing corticosteroids, such as betamethasone. This calms the skin and reduces symptoms such as itching, redness and scaling. Treatment of psoriasis with calcipotriol and other Vitamin D analogues can also be effective. In some cases, antibiotics such as ciclosporin or other oral anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed.