Psoriasis Causes, Symptoms & Treatments in Dallas, Texas
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-related skin condition that causes an accelerated growth of skin cells, making affected areas of skin appear inflamed, red, and scaly. Psoriasis may also cause the skin to itch, burn, or sting. Symptoms of psoriasis can range from mild to moderate, to severe and can affect any area of the body, including the nails and areas of the face, including the lips, eyelids, and mouth. Areas most commonly affected by psoriasis include the scalp, elbows, and knees. Depending on which areas of the body are affected, along with the severity of the condition, psoriasis treatment will vary.
What Are The Causes Of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is caused by a defect in the immune system that causes T-cells to attack healthy skin cells. This leads to an excess reproduction of skin cells. The excess skin cells then accumulate at the surface of the skin, causing the skin to appear flaky. Triggers that may cause psoriasis to occur may include:
- Injury to the skin
- Cold, dry climates
- Certain medications
- Alcohol use
What Are The Symptoms Of Psoriasis?
In general, symptoms of psoriasis include flare-ups where affected patches of skin become red, flaky, and inflamed. However, there is more than one type of psoriasis. Depending on the type of psoriasis, symptoms may vary. Types of psoriasis along with their symptoms may include:
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. This type of psoriasis primarily affects the lower back, knees, elbows, and scalp. Affected patches of skin will appear red and inflamed, along with a layer of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Additional symptoms may include pain, itching, and cracking and bleeding of the affected areas.
Guttate psoriasis is the second most common form of psoriasis. This type of psoriasis typically begins during childhood or adolescent years. Symptoms of guttate psoriasis include small red bumps that are spread across areas of skin, usually on the arms, legs, abdomen, and chest. Symptoms may also affect the face, scalp, and ears.
Inverse psoriasis is defined by smooth red patches of skin in crevices of the body, such as the groin, behind the knees, and the underarms. Inverse psoriasis may also be accompanied by symptoms of other types of psoriasis in other areas of the body.
Pustular psoriasis is defined by pus-filled blisters and reddened skin, mainly on the hands and feet.
Erthythromedic psoriasis is a rarer, but more severe, form of psoriasis that occurs across almost the entire body. Symptoms of erythrodermic psoriasis include extreme redness, fluctuating body temperatures, shedding of skin, and severe pain and itching.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?
Psoriasis is diagnosed through a thorough physical exam of the skin, nails, and scalp. Your doctor may also review your medical history, symptoms, and any changes in behaviors that may be causing the skin to flare up. To help determine what type of psoriasis you have and to rule out other possible causes, your doctor may recommend a biopsy or other tests.
How Is Psoriasis Treated?
Depending on the severity, type, and affected areas of psoriasis, medication and treatment will vary. Your doctor will determine the best treatment options for you based on your unique needs.
Psoriasis Treatments May Include:
- Topical treatments, e.g., ointments or shampoos
- Oral medications
Is Psoriasis an Autoimmune Disease?
Most scientists who have studied psoriasis understand it to be an issue within the body’s immune system. However, the exact mechanism of the condition is not fully known. Research has identified a link between the genes and gene groups found in psoriasis patients and those found in other known autoimmune conditions. Studies using immunosuppressant drugs to treat psoriasis also suggest that this condition could be classified as an autoimmune disorder. Currently, researchers are continuing to study this condition and the role that the T cells play in it. T cells are the “soldiers” of the immune system. They are usually in motion to fight off infection. In the case of psoriasis, the T cells may attack healthy skin with special proteins called cytokines, resulting in accelerated skin cell multiplication and a buildup of cells on the skin.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is one that starts with the body’s immune system. Usually, the immune system sends out particular cells to find and fight infection and other “invaders” that could cause illness. Due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, an autoimmune condition can begin as the body’s immune system starts to attack healthy cells as if they were a threat. There are many different autoimmune conditions in addition to psoriasis, including lupus, irritable bowel disease, and more.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
No. You cannot contract psoriasis from coming into contact with a person who has it. Likewise, if you have psoriasis, you are not at risk of passing it along to someone else through physical contact.
Will I Have Psoriasis Forever?
Psoriasis is considered a forever type of condition. However, it is not uncommon to experience symptoms in bouts. Psoriasis may go into remission as a result of environmental changes or simply because. These cycles of flare-ups and remissions can vary significantly from person to person. We often see more symptoms in the wintertime and fewer symptoms in the summertime. During a period of remission, which can last from weeks to years, psoriasis symptoms may lessen or go away completely. If psoriasis has caused scarring, the scars remain even in times of remission.
Does What I Eat Affect My Psoriasis?
There is currently no conclusive evidence that indicates a link between food and a psoriasis flare-up. Environmental factors, stress, and skin care such as exfoliation are more common triggers associated with this disease. That said, psoriasis is not completely understood and every person can have a unique set of triggers. If you notice that you tend to have some form of reaction to certain foods, consider keeping a food diary that notes details of your symptoms, such as the timing after consuming certain food and the severity and longevity of the symptom.
Is Psoriasis the Same as Eczema?
Psoriasis and eczema can look and feel similar. Both can appear as red, dry patches and both may itch. However, psoriasis can also cause a burning or stinging sensation. Whereas eczema appears as dry, red patches on the skin, psoriasis can also look scaly. This is due to the accumulation of skin cells creating plaques on the upper layer of the skin. Also, it is more common to see eczema in children than psoriasis. Conversely, psoriasis usually develops during adolescence or adulthood. Your dermatologist has the advanced training to accurately identify the source of your red, itchy skin. If you’re ready to resolve ongoing or recurrent symptoms, contact us today to schedule a consultation!
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
If you are experiencing symptoms of psoriasis that are interfering with your quality of life, a consultation with an experienced dermatologist may be the first step towards helping restore the appearance and health of your skin. At Dermatology Treatment and Research Center, our board-certified physician Dr. Clay Cockerell hold expertise in clinical, cosmetic, and general dermatology and are ready to provide you with high-quality expert care in a friendly and compassionate atmosphere. Call 972.661.2729 or fill out the form on this page to book an appointment.