Psoriasis is a condition of the skin, producing red, crusty and flaky patches on your skin that are covered with silver-coloured scales.

The patches usually appear on your knees, scalp, elbows and lower back, but can also appear anywhere else on your body. Most people only have small patches, but for some, these patches can be sore and itchy.

Recent research points to psoriasis stemming from an immune-system imbalance, leading to the presentation of symptoms in both the skin and, less frequently, the joints (as psoriatic arthritis). It is therefore classified as an immune condition, in which speeded up skin-replacement activity leads to excess skin cells that build up, forming the itchy red skin plaques (patches).


Your IPSA skin clinic psoriasis consultation

At your ISPA skin clinic, you will be seen by your IPSA skin specialist for your psoriasis consultation. Your IPSA physician will go through all the available psoriasis management options with you and choose a regimen in dialog with you that is best suited to the severity of your presenting psoriasis symptoms.


Who gets psoriasis?

Psoriasis equally affects both males and females, with 2–3% of the UK population thought to suffer from the condition. Although we tend to see the late teen to early thirties and the 50–60 age group presenting more frequently with psoriasis, it can occur at any age.

The severity of psoriasis does vary considerably, where for some it is merely a minor irritation, yet for others, it can seriously impact their quality of life.

Psoriasis is a long-lasting and chronic disease, which usually involves periods with only mild or no symptoms, followed by periods with more severe symptoms.


What causes psoriasis?

Although the process is not yet fully understood, the increased production of skin cells with psoriasis is thought to be due to an immune-system issue. Your immune system defends your body against infections and diseases, but if you have psoriasis, your immune system attacks your healthy skin cells.

It is unclear as to what initially triggers the immune system, but when certain immune cells in your immune system overactivate, as if they are defending against an infection, inflammatory chemicals are produced that lead to the changes in your skin, thus leading to rapid skin-cell growth and to the plaque formation that is all too familiar to psoriasis sufferers.

Where skin cells are normally replaced every three or four weeks, with psoriasis, this process only lasts for three to seven days. The resulting skin-cell build-up creates the patches that are associated with psoriasis.

Psoriasis sometimes seems to run in families, but the exact role of genetics in causing psoriasis is still unclear.

Often, psoriasis symptoms can start up or worsen due to a certain ‘trigger’ event. Some possible psoriasis triggers include:

  • Skin injury
  • Some infections
  • A throat infection
  • Changes in hormone levels
  • Certain medications
  • Stress and anxiety
  • A family history of psoriasis

Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed on from person to person.


How psoriasis is diagnosed at your IPSA skin clinic

Your IPSA skin specialist can often diagnose your psoriasis from the appearance of your skin.

In very rare cases, your IPSA physician will take a small sample of your skin (called a biopsy), to send to the laboratory for a microscopic examination, as this will determine the exact type of psoriasis you have and will rule out any other skin disorders, such as lichen planus, lichen simplex, seborrhoeic dermatitis and pityriasis rosea.

If your IPSA physician suspects that you have psoriatic arthritis (which can be a complication of psoriasis), you may be referred to an IPSA specialist in rheumatology (a specialist in arthritis). You might also be offered blood tests during your IPSA psoriasis consultation (to rule conditions like rheumatoid arthritis) and your IPSA skin specialist might take X-rays of any of your affected joints.


Treating psoriasis

There is no cure for psoriasis, however, a range of treatments are available to improve your symptoms and the appearance of your skin patches.

Many treatments and treatment combinations can be used to treat psoriasis and to manage the condition effectively, although often this is a case of trial and error to find the most suitable and effective treatment for you. There are many recommended creams for psoriasis, coal tar for psoriasis treatment, and so on, and at the ISPA skin clinic, we aim to offer you the best treatment for psoriasis.

In the majority of cases, the first treatment is a topical treatment and these include vitamin D analogues and topical corticosteroids. These topical treatments consist of ointments and creams that are applied directly to your skin.

If these treatments are not effective, or if your psoriasis is more severe, then your IPSA skin specialist may discuss phototherapy as a treatment route, which involves exposing your skin to ultraviolet light.

In very severe cases, where the other treatments have proven ineffective, then your IPSA physician may opt for systemic treatments, which are injected or oral medicines that work on your whole body.

For you same-day IPSA psoriasis consultation, simply call IPSA’s skin clinic or book online.