What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects around 1–5% of the population worldwide and has a tendency to run in families. The condition is less common in sunny climates and in pigmented skin tones. It can appear at any time but often develops in the teens or 20s or later in life.

Psoriasis can affect various areas of the body. The condition is unpredictable and symptoms may occur at irregular intervals. Psoriasis manifests on the body int he form of plaques; plaques consist of thick scaly buildup of the outer layer of skin which causes itching and discomfort. However, most people have mild, persistent symptoms for much of the time. Psoriasis is not infectious, however affected skin may become infected and need treatment.

What causes psoriasis?

Psoriasis is often an inherited condition but can also occur in people with no family history of the disease. It is not considered to be a genetically inherited condition. It has been suggested that there are certain triggers that may cause it to develop, including injury, sunburn, HIV, beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection, emotional stress, alcohol and certain drugs. This is not an infectious condition but, occasionally, the skin may become infected and need treatment. There does not appear to be any connection between diet and psoriasis.

Who gets psoriasis?

Psoriasis affects both men and women. It generally appears between the ages of 15 and 35, but can develop in infancy and old age.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?

There is no cure but there are many treatments available that can clear psoriasis for periods of time. The most commonly used medicines are creams applied directly to the skin. For more advanced cases of psoriasis, ultraviolet treatments or oral medicines are options.

Application of steroid creams

Long-term use of topical steroid medications (creams, ointments, solutions) on a specific body location on the body can, over time, lead to thinning of the skin at that body location. Therefore, it is better to use a stronger steroid for a shorter period of time to treat inflamed areas.

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