A person who has been diagnosed with psoriasis has skin cells that reproduce much faster than normal skin cells. This overproduction of cells causes a build up of older skin cells that have not had a chance to die off and fall away. The condition primarily affects the scalp, knees, and elbows and appears as a thick, scaly rash. While there is little known about what actually causes the condition, most doctors attribute it to a malfunction of the immune system. Research has indicated that a large part of the problem may have to do with genetics and exposure to environmental contaminants. It may also be a combination of several different factors.
There is no known cure for psoriasis, but doctors have made medical advancements that have produced effective treatment plans that help to reduce the severity of the condition and control many of the most aggravating symptoms. The condition responds to both systemic forms of treatment as well as topical creams and ointments. Topical ointments are applied directly to the affected area, while systemic treatment options involve oral medications or injectables that provide continued relief. Most doctors also rely on nutritional support to ensure the skin receives the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and vibrant.
The symptoms of psoriasis will range according to where it appears on the body. For the most part, it is characterized by large, red patches of scaly or flaky skin that tend to fall away or become irritated. The surface of the inflamed area may appear as silvery scales. The skin may become extremely dry, causing it to crack and bleed. The irritated area may continue to spread, creating large areas of red, itchy skin. When psoriasis occurs on the scalp, the person may lose their hair in specific areas. Toenails and fingernails that become affected by the condition may also start to crack and fall off.