What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis occurs when the immune system malfunctions and causes specific immune cells called T cells to begin attacking your own skin. In response to this attack, the skin speeds up its turnover process, with new cells making it to the surface of the skin in days instead of weeks.
This excessive skin cell production leads to pigmented, scaly, blistered, or otherwise problematic skin conditions. The majority of cases are made up of people with plaque psoriasis, but several other types exist, some that can occur together.
What Does Psoriasis Look Like?
This most common form of psoriasis forms patches of skin that look raised, red around the edges, and usually scaly or flaky. The scales are plaques of shedding skin cells, and the red pigmentation results from inflammation as the immune system attacks.
This type, which looks similar to plaque psoriasis, forms on and around the scalp and hairline, sometimes extending around the neck and ears. Thick plaques can cause hair loss in the affected area.
Often occurring along with other types of psoriasis, this one leads to yellowing, crumbling nails that may separate from the nail bed. Nails may become crumbly and flaky.
Typically occurring in children and young adults as a response to an infection or irritant, this type causes numerous small, scaly, very red spots. These often respond very well to treatments that address pigmentation problems.
Instead of scaly plaques on the body, this type of psoriasis usually affects the hands and feet, causing pus-filled blisters and dry, thick skin that develops painful cracks.