Psoriasis is a common skin condition that occurs when skin cells grow too fast causing thickening of the skin. This results in an itchy scaly rash. These scales may be white or silvery in appearance. Other symptoms may include dryness, burning, soreness, pain, and changes in nail shape and color. It can occur anywhere on the body and can range in severity. Psoriasis is a chronic condition in which symptoms can alternate between periods of relief and flare-ups. The cause of this condition isn’t fully understood, but is believed to be related to the immune system. There is currently no cure for psoriasis.
The goal of treatment is to slow down the growth of skin cells and to provide relief from symptoms. Mild to moderate psoriasis can be treated with topical agents. For moderate to severe psoriasis, an oral agent may be added to topical therapies. For all patients, it is also important to keep the skin hydrated by using moisturizers such as petroleum jelly, thick creams, or ointments. Newer oral agents and biologic injectable medications are available if patients are unresponsive to traditional therapies. These medications work by interfering with the inflammatory processes that cause symptoms of psoriasis.