Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease affecting 2% of the population. It occurs equally in men and women, can appear at any age, and tends to come and go unpredictably. It is not infectious.
Although psoriasis is a long-term condition, there are many effective treatments available to keep it under good control. We see numerous sub-types of psoriasis.
Psoriasis can affect the nails and the joints as well as the skin.
Both inherited and environmental factors play a role in the development of psoriasis. Psoriasis tends to run in families.
Psoriasis signs and symptoms
Skin affected by psoriasis is red and scaly. The outer layer of skin (the epidermis) contains skin cells, which are continuously being replaced. This process normally takes between three and four weeks. In psoriasis, the rate of turnover is dramatically increased so that cells are formed and shed in as little as three or four days.
There is no cure for psoriasis but there are several effective dermatology treatments available. Treatment of psoriasis varies and largely depends on severity. Hierarchy of therapy includes:
- Topical therapy
- Oral systemic agents
- Injection therapy
During a psoriasis consultation, a full history is taken and a full skin assessment is performed. Usually, we can diagnose psoriasis after a clinical examination of your skin, yet, there are times when a skin biopsy is helpful. A biopsy involves injecting a local anaesthetic and taking a very small sample of skin to look at under the microscope. This is done in the minor procedure room.
We’ll give you a treatment plan based on the type and severity of psoriasis. It is important that we follow up with you at appropriate time points to ensure improvement in your rash.
For many individuals, factors such as infections, stress, alcohol and/or smoking can trigger flares of psoriasis. Certain medications such as beta-blockers (used to treat high blood pressure and angina), lithium tablets (used to treat malaria) can also cause psoriasis to flare.