Psoriasis is a common skin problem. It causes a thick, rough, dry buildup of the outer layer of skin. The thick areas of skin are called plaques. They usually occur on the scalp, elbows, knees, and buttocks, but they can develop anywhere on the skin. People of all ages can have psoriasis. It is not contagious.
When you have psoriasis, your outer layer of skin makes new cells more rapidly than normal. No one knows exactly what causes psoriasis, but most researchers believe it is an immune system disorder.
The symptoms of psoriasis can vary from mild to severe. They may worsen when you are upset, sick, or injured. Flare-ups of the problem may also occur in the cold weather, if you drink alcohol excess, or have any injury to your skin.
Your treatment depends on your symptoms. The goal is to ease discomfort and slow the production of excessive skin cells production, to prevent or reduce the buildup of plaque. We often start with topical creams and ointments. More severe psoriasis may require medicines to suppress your body immune response. Examples of such medicines are methotrexate and cyclosporine, which are usually taken by mouth. The newer very exciting products are called biologics. They work to only suppress certain aspects of the immune system. Some examples of these products include Stelara, Humira, Enbrel, and Remicaide. Dr. Loucas has had great success in treating psoriasis since the advent of these newer therapies.