What causes psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. However, it is understood that the immune system, environmental factors and family history can play critical roles in its development. The immune system is somehow triggered, which causes a series of events such as inflammation, acceleration of skin cell growth, etc. It is important to understand that psoriasis is not contagious. A person cannot “catch” it by touching the affected individual.
How widespread is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory condition that affects about 2% of the world population. Prevalence in India varies between 0.8% to 2.8%.
How is psoriasis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of psoriasis is usually made by a dermatologist examining the affected skin for typical signs of the disease and obtaining an appropriate patient history. In some cases, to aid in the diagnosis, your dermatologist may obtain a small sample of skin and examine it under a microscope.
What triggers psoriasis to flare?
Certain things may cause exacerbation of pre-existing psoriasis or may trigger psoriasis. Among these are stress, skin injuries, throat infections, and reactions to certain medications. Weather can also worsen psoriasis, especially in cold and dry climates.
Is psoriasis curable?
At present, there is no known cure for psoriasis. However, there are certain medications which can control and help to treat psoriasis. It is important for patients to speak with their dermatologists about appropriate treatment(s) that may effectively manage their psoriasis. Treatment may include medications applied to the skin, phototherapy, medications taken orally or given by injection.
Psoriasis is a common, chronic, inflammatory, multisystem disease of the skin and joints. Scalp is the first site of involvement in up to 25% of the patients of psoriasis. Up to 79% of patients of chronic plaque psoriasis may have scalp involvement. It can be mild to severe, and often itchy, cosmetically embarrassing and affects the quality of life adversely.
Scalp psoriasis can be very mild, with slight scaling. It can also be very severe with thick, crusted lesions covering the entire scalp. Psoriasis can extend beyond the hairline onto the forehead or the back of the neck.
Other skin disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis, may look similar to psoriasis.
How to differentiate between scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp?
A combination of treatment (shampoo, lotion, UV light) will be advised to a person with scalp psoriasis, sometimes the treatment will be rotated since it becomes less responsive to medications after repeated use. Systemic medication may be used if psoriasis is present elsewhere on the body and/or the scalp psoriasis is moderate to severe.
Dr.S.Nagakeerthana is a consultant dermatologist and dermatosurgeon.