Psoriasis may be a disease of the skin that causes thick, itchy patches of red skin and silvery scaling. The leading two layers of the skin are called the epidermis and dermis. New cells at rock bottom of the epidermis constantly move up and replace the older cells above them. Normally, it takes one month for cells to form this journey. In psoriasis, cells reach the skin surface in just six to eight days. This particularly happens due to a poor immune system. However, it is extremely common in fair skin people and adults.
How does it happen?
Scientists think that your immune system mistakes certain natural substances in your skin as foreign invaders. This causes your immune system to perform a counterattack called an inflammatory response. Inflammation stands as a series of changes that occur in your skin. This will eventually include enlarged blood vessels along with the growth of more blood vessels. In addition, the growth of more immune cells in the area. This helps in forming groups and faster creation of new skin cells. Over time, this becomes a cycle. Likewise, damaged skin cells signal more immune cells to join the area. Eventually, this allows the skin cells to multiply rapidly and your skin gets thicker. Thus, this results in raised, itchy, and inflamed areas called plaques on the skin. Scientists also think that the chances of your having psoriasis can be passed from your family. It can pass through parts of your DNA through genes. If you are passed with it from your family then there are certain triggers that you should take care of:
- Skin injuries such as big bites.
- Dry skin or dry weather.
- Infections particularly- strep throat or skin infections.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Certain medications.
Types of psoriasis
There are five major types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis – It is the most common psoriasis. It appears in raised red patches along with a silvery-white buildup of dead skin cells. This appears common in the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower backs. They are often itchy and painful. Again, if they get cracked, they can bleed.
- Guttate psoriasis- A guttate psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that appears as small dot-like lesions. We can often see it in some children or young adults. This can further stand triggered by a strep infection. About 10% of psoriasis-affected people have guttate psoriasis.
- Inverse psoriasis- This comes out as extremely red lesions in body folds. Particularly, behind the knee, under the arm, or in the groin. Besides, it may appear smooth and shiny.
- Pustular psoriasis- It stands characterized by white pustules or blisters of non-infectious pus. Moreover, it stands surrounded by red skin. It has the tendency to occur in any part of the body. But occurs often on the hands or feet.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis- This is a severe form of psoriasis that directs to extensive fiery redness that spreads all over most of the body parts. It can particularly cause severe itching and pain.
- One or more raised red skin patches with silver scales on your scalp, elbows, knees, low backs, or buttocks.
- One may also notice skin patches that might occur on your eyebrows, armpits, belly, around the anus, or between your buttocks.
- The patches may itch or hurt.
- Some people with psoriasis may also face other symptoms such as swollen, painful joints or pus-filled blisters.
- Sometimes your fingernails might misshapen, thick, and pitted.
When to see a doctor?
It is always safe to see a doctor when you suspect you have psoriasis on any part of your body. Also, consult a doctor immediately if your psoriasis evolves severely or is widespread. Again, when it causes you discomfort, pain, change in the skin, joint problems. Particularly, when it does not improve with normal treatments. Doctors can usually tell you if you have psoriasis by looking at your skin patches. If still there remains any confusion the doctor will ask you for certain tests. They will take a sample of your skin and look at the microscope. This is known as a biopsy. The treatments will include medicines to put on your skin. Again, phototherapy where UV light will shine on your skin to heal. Furthermore, pills or shots are also used to treat psoriasis. Some of the medicines can possess side effects. So, they are only used to treat severe cases.