Psoriasis

What it is:

Psoriasis is a complicated, chronic-inflammatory disease of the immune system that involves skin and joints. The body overproduces cells on the outermost layer of the skin at a fast pace, creating rough, scaly patches. 

Most people that have psoriasis have a family history of the disease. Psoriasis is most prevalent on elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, buttocks and genital area. Psoriasis can be very painful; 30 percent of patients also have joint pain in addition to the painful, scaly skin plaques. A recent trauma, strep infection, virus, conjunctivitis or immunization can stimulate psoriasis. Alcohol, obesity, and smoking can all cause exacerbations of psoriasis.

Treatment:

Restoring normal skin is the most important concern. This can be performed with cleaning and bandaging. Some patients are seeking treatment for other ailments when psoriasis is discovered; other patients with psoriasis end up in the emergency room. 

The simplest treatments for psoriasis include topical medications, getting daily sun exposure, sea bathing, using moisturizer, and relaxing. Oatmeal baths may also be helpful. 

Stronger treatments may be needed in stubborn cases of psoriasis. In 2013, expert dermatologists from 33 countries worked together to develop a consensus report on effectively treating severe psoriasis. Recommendations from that report include using methotrexate, cyclosporine, or combination therapy, along with treatment-free intervals.