It is estimated that approximately 7.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis in one form or another. Worldwide about 125 million people are afflicted with this skin condition. Though there are five kinds of psoriasis, the most common type is plaque.
What is Plaque Psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by raised patches of red or pink inflamed skin covered with silvery scales. The patches commonly form on the knees and elbows but may also be found on the arms, legs, trunk of the body, and the scalp. Though it is not contagious, scientists suspect there may be a genetic link to the skin disorder. People who have a relative with psoriasis are more likely to develop it than those who don’t
Men and women are equally affected by the skin condition, but it manifests earlier in women. The average age of first onset is 16 to 22 years. Psoriasis is associated with the onset of other medical problems such as psoriatic arthritis, increased risk of stroke, and high levels of blood lipids. Anyone can get psoriasis, but it is more prevalent in Western, European, and Scandinavian populations.
What Does Plaque Psoriasis Look Like?
Plaque psoriasis typically forms in circular or oval patterns. The skin is red or pink, inflamed, and usually covered in silver scales. The skin feels rough to touch, and the patches tend to erupt quickly over large areas of skin. Other symptoms of psoriasis include itching, burning, soreness, and dry skin that cracks. The nails may thicken, discolor, crumble, or become pitted.
What Causes Plaque Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is classified as an autoimmune disorder. For unknown reasons, the body begins attacking itself. In the case of psoriasis, this leads to abnormal skin cell production. The skin disorder is a chronic condition that typically goes through periods of activity and remission. However, a breakout can be triggered by a number of factors including sunburns, cuts, bug bites, infections, stress, smoking, over consuming alcohol, cold weather, obesity, and certain medications. These same factors can also cause a mild case of psoriasis to become more severe.
Treatment for Plaque Psoriasis
There is currently no cure of psoriasis and treatment focuses on getting rid of the patches and reducing the frequency of eruptions. How psoriasis is treated depends on how severe the breakout is. Acute and mild forms of psoriasis are usually treated with topical over-the-counter products containing corticosteroids, vitamin D, retinoids (vitamin A), tar, or salicyclic acid. The problem with using medication is that they can lose their effectiveness over time as the body gets used to them.
Severe psoriatic breakouts may be treated with oral or injected medications that inhibit immune system function. Some people find them to be effective, but they can reduce the body’s ability to fight off infections and diseases.
There are a lot of psoriasis treatment products on the market. To help you find the most effective remedy, we scoured through all of them and found the ones that worked the best at eradicating the unsightly patches and alleviating symptoms. To learn about the best at-home psoriasis treatment products, read our reviews on the homepage.