New skin cells form in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells. The skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear.
Types of psoriasis
Patient with psoriasis will have one or more of these types:
- Inverse (also called flexural psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis).
- Erythrodermic (also called exfoliative psoriasis).
Some patients may actually have more than one type.
There are several forms of psoriasis, and each form has unique characteristics that allow dermatologists to visually identify psoriasis to determine what type, or types, of psoriasis is present. A skin biopsy is sometimes necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
To diagnose psoriasis, we will:
- Examine a patient’s skin, nails, and scalp for signs of psoriasis.
- Inquire whether any family members have psoriasis.
- Determine if a patient has any contributing historical factors that might be responsible or associated with their psoriasis (extreme personal life stress, medical illnesses, new medications.
While no current cure for psoriasis exists, there are many treatment options that can clear psoriasis. Each treatment has advantages and disadvantages, and what works for one patient may not be effective for another. Board-certified dermatologists have the medical training and experience needed to determine the most appropriate treatments for each patient
Treating psoriasis has benefits. Treatment can reduce signs and symptoms of psoriasis, which usually makes a person feel better. With treatment, some people see their skin completely clear. Treatment can even improve a person’s quality of life.
Psoriasis treatments fall into 3 categories:
- Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis
- Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
- Systemic therapies including new biologic medications. These medications may be given by mouth, or require a simple injection or infusion. – Moderate, severe, disabling or unresponsive psoriasis