What is Psoriasis? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red itchy patches most commonly seen on knees, elbows, and scalp. Psoriasis can be a long-term addition to your body as it has no cure if it starts flaring through your body in a few weeks or over a month then subsidizes slowly. Psoriasis can be caused due to abnormal immune reactions which multiply the skin cells up to 10 times. It can be transferred from one person to another and mainly in families. Though there is no cure for it, you can be treated for the same to reduce the symptoms.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

There are no similar symptoms to it and every individual might experience different symptoms. But below are some common symptoms- 

  • Skin covered with thick, silvery scales and red patches over the body.
  • Scaling spots very small usually found in kids
  • Itchy or bleeding skin due to dryness
  • Soreness, itching, or burning sensations in patchy areas
  • Nails getting thickened or ridged nails
  • Joints being stiff and swollen
  • Plaques of crust on the scalp

Different Types of Psoriasis

Pustular Psoriasis

A very rare form of Psoriasis puss-filled and occurs in widespread patches causes red and scaly skin with some tiny pustules on the palm and the sole of the feet.

Guttate Psoriasis

This type majorly affects young adults or kids. It is caused due to bacterial infections such as strep throat or respiratory infection, stress, antimalarial pills, or injury to the skin. It causes red spots mainly on the torso or limbs.

Inverse Psoriasis

This majorly affects the skin folds of the groin, buttocks, and breasts. Inverse psoriasis can cause red itchy skin that can get worse with sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of Psoriasis. It makes bright red shiny lesions on the skin.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

This majorly affects the skin folds of the groin, buttocks, and breasts. Inverse psoriasis can cause red itchy skin that can get worse with sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis. It makes bright red shiny lesions on the skin.

Psoriatic Arthritis

It causes swelling and severe pain in the joints, which are very similar to arthritis. Sometimes the joint symptoms are the first or only symptom of Psoriasis. Sometimes there are only nail changes. Symptoms of this particular type can be from mild to severe, and psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint. It can cause stiffness and regular joint damage, leading to permanent joint damage in serious cases.

Nail Psoriasis

It can affect fingernails and toenails and causes abnormal nail growth. In addition, nails might get loosen and separate from the nail bed anytime. In many Severe cases, the nail might also crumble.

Causes of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a problem caused due to issues in the immune system that causes the skin cells to grow faster than normal rates. Plaque psoriasis, the most common form, can be a leading cause of a rapid increase in red patches and scales.

What causes the immune system to malfunction isn’t entirely clear. Research shows that both genetics and environmental factors play a role. The condition is not contagious but needs to look up with proper medical attention to avoid serious issues.

Psoriasis Triggers

  • Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections
  • Weather, especially cold, dry conditions
  • Any skin injuries due to bug bite or sunburn
  • Stress
  • Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Few medications — including lithium, high blood pressure medications, and antimalarial drugs
  • Rapid withdrawal of oral or systemic corticosteroids

Diagnosis of Psoriasis

Physical Examination: Doctors may easily diagnose Psoriasis if you have plaques on areas such as the scalp, ears, elbows, knees, belly buttons, and nails. The doctor may advise taking all other necessary physical examinations. 

Lab Test: The doctors may also do a biopsy by removing some skin to get tested if there’s an infection.

Psoriasis Treatment

Even though there is no permanent cure for the Psoriasis treatment, various resources can help the symptoms slow down and heal. There is no specific time frame; it may take years to recover fully.

Some common treatments are- 

  • Creams
  • Moisturizers for dry skin
  • Coal tar (a common treatment for scalp used in shampoos, soap, or conditioners)
  • Ointments 
  • Light treatment- The doctor may use ultraviolet rays to treat the scalp areas to reduce the red patches.
  • Keeping a check on symptoms and ensuring taking prescribed medication.
  • Oral Medications- If you have moderate to severe symptoms and nothing works doctor may prescribe taking oral medication.


Psoriasis can be treated long-term by consultation and the right remedies if you are looking for a doctor. Install the Ask Vaidya Online Doctors Consultation App to book an appointment from the comfort of your place and get expert advice.

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