Psoriasis

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause remains unknown. There may be a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family. The immune system is thought to play a major role. Despite research over the past 30 years looking at many triggers, the "master switch" that turns on psoriasis is still a mystery.

What does psoriasis look like? What are psoriasis symptoms and signs?

Psoriasis appears as red or pink areas of thickened, raised, and scaling skin. It classically affects areas over the elbows, knees, and scalp. Although any body area may be involved, it tends to be more common in areas of trauma, scratching, or abrasions.

Psoriasis may vary in appearance. It most often is small flattened scaly bumps and larger thick plaques of raised red patches of skin.

There are several different types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris (common type), guttate psoriasis (small, drop-like spots), inverse psoriasis (in the folds like of the underarms, navel, and buttocks), and pustular psoriasis (small pus-filled yellowish blisters). When the palms and the soles are involved, this is known as palmoplantar psoriasis.

Reviewed on 5/16/2013