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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an immune system related skin disorder that affects between 1% - 2% of the population. It appears in a variety of forms, but is most often seen as raised red patches of skin topped by a build-up of flaking white skin that is extremely itchy. This is known as plaque psoriasis.

Psoriasis typically occurs on the hands, feet, ankles, scalp, knees, elbows or nails. It is not contagious or particularly dangerous to our health, unless scratching introduces infection. Scientists now believe that psoriasis is caused by a temporary malfunction of the immune system, triggered by an adverse reaction to a skin injury, infection or emotional stress. It may also be hereditary in some cases.

The disorder starts when skin cells, which normally mature over a 28-day period before being shed, are directed by the immune system to accelerate their growth pattern. Within a 3 - 6 day period, new skin cells are pumped into the affected region, whilst the skin cell shedding rate remains the same. This results in characteristic red & white flaky patches of psoriasis.

Other forms in which psoriasis may appear are as small red spots on the skin, dry folded areas of skin that do not flake and as pustules of clear white blood cells. Most cases of psoriasis are reported in children and young adults from infancy up until the age of 35, although this does not preclude anyone over the age of 35 from contracting the disorder.

Psoriasis treatments help manage the disorder but do not cure it. These include creams that are topically applied, phototherapy or a course of pills and/or injections.

For more information on psoriasis please use the resources on our site.

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