‘Psoriasis’ is a non – infectious, inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by well – defined thick, red patches covered by large, adherent, silvery scales; found especially in areas like the scalp, elbows, ankle, nails, knees, palms, trunk, back and in rare cases the whole body is affected. In infants the napkin area is most commonly affected site.
Normally a new layer of skin works out to the surface in about thirty days. In psoriasis, that layer of cells reaches the top in just three days, resulting in raised areas of skin called plaques, which are red and quite itchy. The cells after reaching the surface die like normal cells and so they look like raised white patches with the dead cells flaking off in the form of silvery scales. Psoriasis goes through cycles of flare – ups and remissions, with flare – ups usually in the season of winter and in some cases the flare- ups occur before menses. Psoriatic arthropathy is one of the commonest complications in this condition.
A genetic predisposition is seen frequently; but most of the times factors like emotional stress, infections and reactions to certain medications are other precipitating causes. Education the patient and his/her relatives about the illness and about it not being contagious is essential. Psoriasis is occasionally helped by exposure to sunlight and ocean bathing