Psoriasis is a common skin condition affecting about 2% of the population. It’s characterised by skin cells which reproduce too quickly. It’s not contagious, but it does often run in families. For some it can be a minor condition with a little irritation but for others the scaling and psychological upset can be so horrendous that it can has a major impact on their lives.
The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. This produces dry red lesions on the skin known as plaques, which are often covered in silver scales. 80% of psoriasis sufferers have this form. The plaques can be itchy, sore or both and in severe cases the skin can crack and bleed. We don’t fully understand what causes psoriasis but stress, physical or emotional, and infections can set it off.
One in ten sufferers will also develop a form of arthritis, most commonly involving the fingers or the spine. I wish I could say there was a cure for psoriasis. Sadly there isn’t, it’s a long lasting disease that can return at any time. But there are a range of treatments that can help improve even the severest of symptoms.
Usually for mild to moderate psoriasis, topical treatments are prescribed. Creams containing steroids or vitamin D analogues are also useful, and in severe cases specialists use special UV light therapy to treat the condition. In very resistant cases and under the supervision of a hospital dermatologist, oral or injected medication may be prescribed.
Treatments are based on the type of psoriasis you have, its severity, and the area of skin involved. If you’ve got psoriasis and have been given a treatment but don’t feel it’s working you must go back to your GP. There really are lots of different treatment options available so you and your doctor may need to work together to find the best treatment for you. It may take some time but it will be worth it.
Quick Health Advice: Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin condition affecting 2% of the UK population. In this exclusive video, Dr Harper explains the symptoms and causes of this long-lasting disease, which can seriously impact the lives of sufferers, both physically and emotionally. She also talks through a number of treatments to alleviate symptoms, which can offer sufferers a relief from this unsightly condition.
If you think your child has psoriasis, check our condition guide for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.
Comments and Questions
Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.