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What is psoriasis?

Various forms of psoriasis exist but, in general, psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder characterized by periodic flare-ups of sharply defined red plaques, covered by a silvery, flaky surface. In the most common form, called plaque psoriasis, thick red patches appear most often on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, buttocks, and belly button. Other areas can also be affected, including nails and body folds.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

 

Psoriasis is a common, lifelong skin condition that manifests as red, itchy patches on the skin. In people without psoriasis, skin cells are formed in the deep layers of skin and slowly rise to the surface and die over about a month. But in individuals with psoriasis, this process occurs much faster, causing dead skin cells to build up on the surface. The result is red, flaky, itchy, irritated skin. Psoriasis often disappears and then flares up again over a lifetime.

This answer provided for NATA by the Southern Connecticut State University Athletic Training Education Program.

Psoriasis is more than a skin problem. Psoriasis is a condition where the immune system gets confused and attacks the body for no good reason, making skin inflamed, red and sore in some places. The attacks cause red plaques to form on the surface of the skin. A plaque is an area of the skin that is raised and is not the color of normal skin.

The immune system army sends messages to the skin telling it to make more skin cells and to make them faster than normal. The skin is working overtime, making more cells than it needs. Normally, the skin replaces its outer layer once a month, but in areas of psoriasis, it only takes a few days. The extra skin cells pile up and cause a flaky buildup of scales. The red patches can feel itchy, or they might be sore.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.