Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that involves red elevated patches and flaking silvery scales. It can take on several different forms and appearances, and symptoms can range from mild to severe
The lesions can be painful and/or itchy and vary in size. Since plaques consist of dry, flaky inflamed skin, it may also crack and bleed. While lesions can appear anywhere on the body, the most common sites include elbows, knees, scalp, chest and lower back. The plaques tend to appear in the same place on both sides of the body.
While it is not known exactly what causes psoriasis to develop in certain individuals, experts believe that the condition may involve malfunctioning of the immune system and the consequent production of inflammation. White blood cells (T cells) in the immune system are triggered and this causes inflammation to occur, which then causes skin cells to rise to the surface and shed at an abnormally quick rate. Skin cells shed every 3 to 4 days in psoriasis whereas in normal healthy skin, the skin cells turnover cycle is typically 30 days.
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