Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that causes patches of flaky skin (plaques) with overlying white or silvery scales. Psoriasis can also affect the nails and joints, and can start at any age.

There are several types of psoriasis, but the most common is called chronic plaque psoriasis. Patches can occur anywhere on the body, but are commonly found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. These skin patches can cycle through periods of improving and resolving, before getting worse again. About half of the people with chronic plaque psoriasis will have scalp psoriasis and/or fingernail involvement.

The severity of psoriasis varies significantly between people, froma few small patches to a more widespread rash impacting day-to-day life. Psoriasis is not contagious, and therefore cannot spread between people. For many people certain triggers can make their symptoms worse, causing a “flare-up” of symptoms.

Treatment can include topical creams or foams, oral medications, or biologic medications administered via a shot or, more rarely, an IV infusion.

In skin affected by psoriasis the epidermis layer grows very rapidly and is unable to shed, causing thickening of the skin and build-up of dead skin cells forming plaques.
Individual skin plaques are usually between 0.4 and 4 inches (1 to 10 cm) wide but may be larger.
25%-30% of people will have, or will go on to develop, pain and swelling in their joints and connective tissues. This is known as psoriatic arthritis.
Over half of people with chronic plaque psoriasis have scalp psoriasis. It can look like severe dandruff, and can affect the whole scalp or just patches.
Psoriatic nail changes
Subungal hyperkeratosis — a chalk-like material — can build up under the nail and can cause tenderness.
Nails can separate from the skin underneath the nail, known as “onycholysis.”
Pitting surface of nails
Plaques can occur anywhere, but commonly occur on elbows and knees.
Psoriasis plaques can vary in color from red to pink or darker or even violet-colored lesions on darker skin.

Clinical Images
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