The answer to what is psoriasis is that it is a chronic, reoccurring skin complaint. It can be mistaken for eczema and vice versa.
Both conditions cause skin inflammation, making the skin red and sore.
The difference is that the symptoms of psoriasis are red patches of skin. They are scaly and have a silvery look about them.
These patches are called psoriatic plaques.
The reason why the most common type of the condition is known as plaque psoriasis.
These patches are caused in sufferers of psoriasis because their body creates new skin cells too quickly.
Normally our skin regenerates every 3-4 weeks. In psoriasis sufferers, it is every 3-4 days.
The excess skin cells reach the surface. They build up and the plaques are formed.
These plaques can affect any area of the body.
Including the scalp, torso and palms.
It is most common on the elbows and knees, like eczema is.
The difference is that psoriasis is found on the outer sides of them.
So front of the knees, and the backs of the elbows. This is opposite to typical eczema.
Another difference is that eczema normally first appears in childhood.
Psoriasis often initially occurs when someone is between 15-25 years old.
There a few reasons why it is thought that certain people suffer
These are some of the reasons, but in some people it is not altogether clear what the cause is.
There are certain things that aggravate the condition. Stress, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity are some examples. They can also make it harder to manage.
It is not caused by poor hygiene, which is something wrongly believed.
It is also not infectious. And is totally harmless to anyone else.
There are several treatments that can be used to help
There is no cure for psoriasis but it can be managed. It can vary in severity from one patch to whole body coverage. Whatever the severity of the condition it can, with help from a doctor, be controlled.
It can be a distressing condition to live with, but controlling it makes all the difference.