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Psoriasis, characteristics, causes

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Psoriasis is a skin disorder which is very common and chronic. It is incurable, but it can be treated. The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. In this type of psoriasis, you will find elevated plaques which have read skin and silvery scale. Such plaques may each and burn. The problem is often seen in the arms, trunk, legs or scalp, but it may also appear in other parts of the skin. The most common areas are the lower back, elbows and knees.

Even though psoriasis is not contagious, but it can be inherited. Disorder in the human immune system may result in this medical condition. Other factors like sunburn, smoking, HIV infection, alcoholism may increase the severity and extent of the problem.

Psoriasis is seen in both children and adults. It affects both the sexes equally. In case of females, psoriasis is seen earlier in life in comparison to males. Individuals of 16 to 22 years of age are most affected by this problem. The second peak of this problem is seen in individuals of 57 to 60 years of age.

Psoriasis symptoms and signs

Plaque psoriasis which is the most common form results in the plaques that are red in color, raised, with scaly skin. They are generally found on the scalp, knees and elbows and they itch and burn. In case of a flare-up, it may last for weeks or months. It may automatically resolve, but there is possibility of its return later.

General characteristics


The plaques may be of 1 cm to several centimeters. They may be limited in some cases and may be extensive in some others. They are generally around in shape with irregular borders. Sometimes, in some cases, they may create wide areas of attacks by merging with one another. The skin in the affected areas may split and bleed.

Red color

The color of the affected skin becomes red due to increased blood flow and the inflammation.


The scales that are seen in case of psoriasis are thin, dry and look silvery white. The thickness of the scales may be different. If the scale is removed, you will find that the skin below is red and smooth.


The plaques that appear because of psoriasis are symmetrical, which means they appear on both the sides of the body.


Changes in nails are commonly seen in case of psoriasis. Small pits are seen in the nails. The nails may also lose color and may look different from the nail bed.

Psoriasis in children

The plaques that developed due to psoriasis are different in children than in the adults. In case of children, the plaques are not very thick and scales are lesser on the skin. In case of infants, psoriasis may also show up in the diaper region. In case of children, the problem mostly affects the face.

Psoriasis causes

Researchers have found that the medical problem may appear due to a disorder in the immune system. The white blood cells protect the body from any foreign infection and the immune system programs these cells. When psoriasis happens, T lymphocytes, which is one type of white blood cells, causes inflammation of the skin. They also encourage skin cells to grow faster in comparison to the normal speed and as a result the cells pile up to create the raised plaques.

There are some other factors which may also result in psoriasis. They include-

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  • Injury to the skin
  • Sunlight
  • Streptococcal infection
  • HIV
  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Emotional stress

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