Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in your skin. Symptoms of psoriasis include thick areas of discolored skin covered with scales. These thick, scaly areas are called plaques. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition, which means it can flare up unexpectedly.
In addition to skin plaques or a rash, you might have symptoms that include:
- Itchy skin.
- Cracked, dry skin.
- Skin pain.
- Nails that is pitted, cracked or crumbly.
- Joint pain.
If you scratch your plaque, you could break open your skin, which could lead to an infection. Infections are dangerous. If you experience severe pain, swelling and a fever, you have symptoms of an infection.
An over-reactive immune system that creates inflammation in your skin causes psoriasis.
- If you have psoriasis, your immune system is supposed to destroy foreign invaders, like bacteria, to keep you healthy and prevent you from getting sick. Instead, your immune system can mistake healthy cells for foreign invaders. As a result, your immune system creates inflammation or swelling, which you see on the surface of your skin as skin plaques.
- It usually takes up to 30 days for new skin cells to grow and replace old skin cells. Your over-reactive immune system causes the timeline of new skin cell development to change to three to four days. The speed of new cells replacing old cells creates scales and frequent skin shedding on top of skin plaques.
- Psoriasis runs in families. There may be a genetic component to psoriasis because biological parents may pass the condition down to their children.
There isn’t a way to entirely prevent psoriasis. You can reduce your risk by following your healthcare provider’s treatment, living a healthy lifestyle, taking good care of your skin and avoiding triggers that can cause an outbreak of symptoms.