Psoriasis is a group of chronic skin disorders in which the skin may itch, burn, scale, or crust over. Millions of individuals have mild to severe psoriasis. Most commonly, psoriasis affects the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet, and genital area. Treatment for psoriasis can significantly improve quality of life.
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Types and Symptoms
Types and symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Plaque psoriasis: red, raised patches of skin covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells; plaques may be itchy and painful and may crack or bleed
- Guttate psoriasis: small, dot-like lesions of the skin that usually begin in childhood or young adulthood
- Inverse psoriasis: red lesions, sometimes smooth and shiny, that appear in folds such as behind the knee, in the underarm, or in the groin area; often accompanies another type of psoriasis
- Pustular psoriasis: white blisters containing white blood cells, surrounded by red skin; most often occurring on the hands or feet
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: severe and sometimes life-threatening condition of widespread, fiery redness over most of the body, causing severe itching and pain; skin may come off in sheets
Treatment for psoriasis depends on the type, location, and severity of psoriasis. Your age, life, and medical history may also affect which treatment is recommended. The most common treatments include:
- Topical medications
- Photochemotherapy (PUVA)
- Oral or injectable medications
While psoriasis cannot be cured, effective treatment can resolve symptoms for months or even years at a time.