Psoriasis is a common, chronic, scaly rash that affects people of all ages (about 2% of the population). There is a genetic predisposition to psoriasis, i.e. it tends to run in families. Psoriasis is also influenced by many environmental factors. It is not contagious and is not due to an allergy.
Psoriasis is characterised by red, scaly patches of skin, which usually have very well defined edges. It is often symmetrical, affecting both sides of the body. The scale is typically silvery white.
Psoriasis is often so mild it is barely noticed by the affected person, but it can occasionally become so severe that the patient must be admitted to hospital for treatment. It may or may not be itchy.
About 5% of those with psoriasis will also develop joint pains (psoriatic arthritis), which may involve one or more joints.
Treatments include: Vitamin D creams, Salicylic Acid and Corticosteroid creams, as well as systemic (oral) therapies.