Sounds like psoriasis, a skin condition that affects 3% of U.S. adults.
Dr. Musick and our team can help you manage your flareups and symptoms of psoriasis.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is known as an “immune-mediated” skin disease. This means some dysfunction of the immune system is the root of the condition. If you have psoriasis, you have plaques — areas of raised, red skin — and areas of scaly skin.
When a person has psoriasis, the production of skin cells gets out of whack and proceeds too quickly. Cells begin to build up on the skin surface before the body can go through the natural processes of shedding them. These extra cells form scaly, raised patches that can be itchy and sometimes painful.
There are several different forms of psoriasis with plaque psoriasis being the most common.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Despites its prevalence in over 7.5 million American adults, the causes of psoriasis are still somewhat a mystery. The prevailing theory is that the immune system is to blame, especially the T cells and white blood cells. In a normal immune response, the T cells are hunting viruses and bacteria to attack and remove from the body. With psoriasis, the T cells instead attack healthy skin cells. This causes the inflammation that creates the red skin of psoriasis.
The overproduction of skin cells is also triggered by the T cells. This gives psoriasis its raised features. Skin cell production and turnover should take weeks, but in a person with psoriasis the process can take just days.
Dr. Musick and our team use different treatments to help patients manage their psoriasis, as there is no cure. Phototherapy is the most effective treatment. The skin is exposed to regular treatments using ultra-violet light. Dr. Musick may also use topical steroid creams and other medications whose goal is to slow the excessive cell production and calm inflammation.
Are you dealing with chronic psoriasis? Call us at Musick Dermatology, (618) 628-2588, and let us help.