Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions impacting over 8 million Americans and over 125 million people worldwide. Still, many think of the disorder as just “dry skin.” This misconception contributes to misinformation and mistreatment being spread. August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and we’re taking the month to educate you on everything you need to know about psoriasis:
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes skin cells to develop 10x quicker than they should. The result of this abnormal growth is patchy, red bumps covered in white scales that are often painful or itchy. While it can show up anywhere on the body, it typically appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back — but don’t worry, the lesions are not contagious or infectious.
Traditionally the disease presents itself between the ages 15-35, but if you’re concerned about your own risk, it’s significant to note that both the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. The first onset of psoriasis and subsequent flare-ups are sometimes caused by triggers such as stress, certain medications, or other infections in the body.
However, despite how common psoriasis is, there is no official blood test for the disease. It’s diagnosed on sight by a dermatologist often following a biopsy of the skin on the affected area.
The Types of Psoriasis
There are five different types of psoriasis. Knowing the type you or your loved one suffers from is critical when it comes to treatment.
Plaque Psoriasis: This is the most common type of psoriasis. It appears as raised, red patches covered with a buildup of white, dead skin cells. Oftentimes these patches crack and bleed.
Guttate Psoriasis: The second most common type of psoriasis, this form appears as small, dot-like lesions that are often triggered by strep throat or respiratory infections at a young age.
Inverse Psoriasis: Oftentimes found on body folds (like behind the knees, the armpits, and the groin), this form of psoriasis shows up as shiny, red lesions that can be accompanied by another kind of psoriasis at the same time.
Pustular Psoriasis: As the name implies this type of psoriasis presents as white pus-filled blisters surrounded by red skin. Traditionally the pustules appear on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis: The most severe form of psoriasis, this is a form of the disease often triggered by severe sunburn or infection that leads to widespread, painful, redness over most of the body that eventually sheds in scale-like sheets. This form of psoriasis is very rare, impacting only 3% of people who suffer from psoriasis during their life.
Living with the disease can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Although there are no known cures, flare-ups can be managed.
Psoriasis can be treated in many ways depending on the severity of the disease.
● Topical steroid solutions
● Biologic drugs
● Systemic prescription drugs
There is no one solution for everyone, so it’s important to discuss your individual experience with your dermatologist in order to find the best treatment. Someone with severe psoriasis is going to have a different treatment plan than someone with very mild symptoms.
No matter what the case is, Boise Dermatology is here for you. Whether you or a loved one is looking for more information, a diagnosis, or treatment we’re ready to help. Give us a call: (208) 888-0660.