What causes Psoriasis?

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. Rapid buildup of cells results in scaling on the skin surface. This scaling can become red, dry, itchy, cracked and inflamed by bacterial infection. Psoriasis typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear anywhere. It is often associated with other serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. Psoriasis is not a contagious condition and the lesions are not infectious.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact causes of psoriasis are uncertain but it is known the genetics and the immune system are important factors in its development. Triggers usually cause psoriasis to flare. It can develop at any age but often develops between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five. There are five types of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, Guttate, inverse, pustular, and Erythrodermic.

Skin Cell Production

The typical life cycle of a skin cell is one month. Skin cells generate deep in the skin, and rise slowly to the surface. Eventually, dead skin cells just flake off. When psoriasis is affecting you, skin cells are produced in just a few days. It is the faster than normal multiplication of skin cells that characterises this disease. 

Who Gets Psoriasis?

Most diagnoses of psoriasis occur in adulthood. It often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but can develop at any age. Men and women develop psoriasis equally and it occurs in all racial groups but a significantly higher rate among White Caucasians.

Other Effects

People with psoriasis are more likely to experience depression and self-esteem issues. The constant cycle of the condition may be frustrating too.

General advice for psoriasis is to look after your health, not smoke, avoid excessive alcohol and maintain optimal weight, as it is an auto-immune disorder. When your body is operating normally, it is unlikely to produce an abnormal auto-immune response, so it is important to retain good health.