What Is Psoriasis?

livescience.com | 8/20/2019 | Cari Nierenberg
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Psoriasis is a disease that causes people to develop thick patches of inflamed skin covered with silvery scales. It's an autoimmune disease, meaning that the immune system becomes overactive and attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake.

With psoriasis, an overactive immune system leads to skin cells that grow too quickly: New skin cells form in days rather than weeks, which causes them to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming the characteristic thick patches and scales of psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

People - Skin - Psoriasis - Looks - Plaque

In people with light-colored skin, psoriasis looks like salmon-pink plaque with an overlying whitish scale, said Dr. David Rosmarin, a dermatologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. The most common locations affected are the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back and backside, and the genitals may also be affected, he said.

Why Do Movie Villains Have So Many Skin Problems?

People - Skin - Patches - Violet - Scale

On people with dark-colored skin, those skin patches look more violet or purplish, with a gray scale, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

About 7.5 million people in the U.S. have psoriasis. The most common type is plaque psoriasis, which affects about 80% of people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

What does psoriasis look like?

Itchiness is the most common complaint in people with psoriasis, Rosmarin told Live Science. People feel itchy especially when psoriasis affects their scalp, palms of the hands or soles of their feet, he said.

Mayo - Clinic - Symptoms - Psoriasis

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common physical symptoms of plaque psoriasis include:

Skin with raised, pink to reddish patches called plaque.

Patches - Coating - Scale

Patches may be covered with a silvery-white coating called scale.

Skin that may feel itchy, or may burn, sting or be painful.


Patches that may crack and bleed.

Fingernails and toenails may look pitted, cracked, thickened or crumbly, and might be confused with nail...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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