Psoriasis is a skin disease that can appear suddenly and sometimes disappear without a trace, and is characterized by redness covered with white dandruff. These areas can sometimes be itchy. The most affected areas are usually the knees, elbows, scalp and hips. It is quite common.
It is thought that heredity plays a role in this disease, which is seen in two out of every hundred people in the society. Stress initiates the disease in a person with a genetic predisposition. Infections and certain medications can also trigger the disease.
The skin of people with psoriasis is sensitive to irritation. In case of injury, scratching, exposure to pressure, psoriasis wounds occur in that area.
Normally, the reproduction cycle of the skin is 3-4 weeks, but in this disease it is shortened to 3-4 days. Because of this, there is a mother-of-pearl crusting like a wax stain on the skin.
In the most common chronic plaque type psoriasis, plaques that remain for a long time develop all over the body, more often on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp.
Droplet psoriasis, in which rashes are smaller than 1 cm and are numerous, is most common in children and can be triggered by streptococcal microbes located in the upper respiratory tract.
Psoriasis plaques may merge by losing their sharp borders and expanding. New large plaques may appear. Sometimes the entire skin may become red.
The type of psoriasis that shows inflamed spots on reddened areas on the palms and soles is resistant to treatment.
Psoriasis can also be seen on the scalp and nails. There may be color and shape changes in the nails. Pinhead-like pits on the nail, thickening at the tips of the nails, and a yellowish oily appearance are typical for psoriasis. While a small area of the scalp may be affected, sometimes the entire scalp may be covered with redness and dandruff.
In a minority of patients, the joints in the fingertips of the hands and feet are also affected, making movements difficult and painful.
The diagnosis of psoriasis is usually easily made by the specialist physician, but sometimes biopsy and additional examinations may be required.
Psoriasis can be controlled with appropriate treatments. The skin becomes less dandruff or completely normal. However, even if psoriasis disappears with treatment, there is always the possibility of it starting again.
Creams, ointments and lotions are the mainstay of treatment for mild psoriasis. Moisturizers reduce dandruff and can be used as needed. Creams containing vitamin D can also be applied. Ultraviolet rays and oral medications can be used especially in cases where the disease is resistant to treatment and is widespread.
Weak cortisone drugs can be used in skin fold areas and on the face. Since strong cortisones can cause thinning of the skin, their use should be closely followed by the physician.
Treatment of psoriasis can take a long time and needs to be well managed. Treatments are chosen according to the disease and the patient’s condition. Treatment options are reassessed from time to time. In this respect, it is of particular importance that the patient is under the follow-up of a trusted physician.