Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. It is caused by the body mistaking skin cells for a pathogen and causing the skin cells to rapidly multiply. As the skin cells die, they leave raised areas of skin that are scaly and discolored. Psoriasis is not contagious, but it may be hereditary.
Types of Psoriasis
There are five main types of psoriasis; they are plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. The symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type of psoriasis. Knowing the types of psoriasis can be an important first step in getting treatment.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. It causes the growth of silvery patches of skin, which are referred to as scales. Plaque psoriasis is most likely to occur on the scalp, knees, or elbows, but it can occur almost anywhere on the body.
Guttate psoriasis generally affects the legs, arms, and abdomen. It causes small, teardrop-shaped areas of raised skin. It is a relatively uncommon type of psoriasis, and it is most often seen in individuals who are under 30 years of age.
Pustular psoriasis causes the growth of small, raised bumps that are filled with pus. The skin around the affected area is generally red.
Inverse psoriasis generally occurs within folds of skin. It causes shiny, red areas of skin. It is generally found in the armpits, under the breasts, and in the groin area.
Erythrodermic psoriasis causes large areas of skin to become inflamed and scaly; it can affect the entire surface of the body. Erythrodermic psoriasis causes the skin to be shed in large sheets. Individuals who have erythrodermic psoriasis often have fluctuations in body temperature, severe itching, and changes in heart rate. Erythrodermic psoriasis can cause severe illness.
Treatments for Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatments are generally aimed at preventing infection and controlling the symptoms of the disease. The treatment options that are available are topical treatments, pills, injections, and phototherapy.
Topical treatments are the most commonly used psoriasis remedies; they are often used in conjunction with psoriasis medications that have been prescribed by a doctor. Topical treatments often contain cortisone, anthralin, or coal tar. Salicylic acid or lactic acid may be included in topical treatments to remove scaling.