Understanding The Signs, Symptoms, And Treatments For Psoriasis

by Dave Freeman

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes red, scaly patches to form on the skin. The most common form of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, affects about 4 million Americans.


Psoriasis occurs when skin cells grow too quickly. Normally, skin cells grow gradually and are shed about every 28 days. But in people with psoriasis, new skin cells grow too fast and old ones are not shed. This buildup of skin cells causes the red, scaly patches.

The Symptoms

There are several types of psoriasis, but the most common form, plaque psoriasis, appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery-white scale. These patches, which are also known as plaques, usually appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, soles of the feet, or palms of the hands.

Additional symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • itching
  • burning
  • soreness
  • redness
  • flaking
  • scaling
  • thickening of the skin

In some cases, psoriasis can also lead to joint pain and swelling. If you think you may have psoriasis, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.


There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments that can help to control the symptoms. Topical treatments, such as corticosteroids, can be applied directly to the affected area to help reduce inflammation.

Light therapy, which involves exposure to ultraviolet light, can also be used to treat psoriasis. In some cases, systemic treatments, such as oral or injected medications, may be necessary to control the condition.

If you think you may have psoriasis, see your doctor for a diagnosis.