ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Psoriasis Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on January 6, 2010

The most complex organ in the body after the brain is probably the skin. It must be waterproof, and yet let out water in the form of sweat. It must be strong to resist damage, yet flexible and sensitive to touch. Skin must repair itself rapidly when damaged, or vital body fluids may escape in a quantity sufficient to threaten life. It is easy to see, but difficult to treat, because few medications can penetrate through it. Because of the complexity of skin, many diseases can arise in our outer covering, and dermatologists are the doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating its ailments.

One of the most annoying and distressing skin diseases, because it tends to be chronic and difficult to treat, is psoriasis. Psoriasis (the P is silent, and it is pronounced almost as 'sore-eye-asis') affects up to 2% of the population. It is unusual in children but becomes more common as age increases. One of the most frustrating aspects of this disfiguring dermatitis is the way in which it can come and go without any treatment. It almost invariably returns, and often in a worse form than previously. Because of this tendency to improve spontaneously, many forms of alternative medical treatment have claimed success in its management. The truth is that there is no cure for psoriasis,but doctors do have a number of quite successful forms of control that help most patients. It is important to realize that many diseases cannot be cured, but can be controlled. Control usually means that the sufferer must continue to take regular treatment to prevent the disease from progressing.

Psoriasis first appears as a small patch of red skin covered with fine scales. The elbows, knees and scalp are the most common sites affected, but the rash may cover any part of the body. The small spot gradually enlarges, roughens and the skin thickens. Then other spots start in other areas of the body over a period of months, until a large part of the body is affected. In the scalp, it may appear to be a bad case of dandruff until the doctor makes the diagnosis. The nails may also be affected, and they become rough and pitted.

Psoriasis has many subtypes, and it is not always easy to make the diagnosis. It may be necessary to cut out a small piece of skin for a pathologist to examine under a microscope before the diagnosis is finally confirmed. One of the more unusual features of psoriasis is that in severe cases the joints may be attacked to cause a type of arthritis.

Treatment can begin once the psoriasis has been diagnosed. This usually involves one or more of a number of creams or ointments that are used regularly on the skin. Coal tar in various forms is the mainstay of treatment, but steroid creams are also widely used. Other skin preparations include drugs called dithranol, salicylic acid and psoralen. Ultraviolet light may be used in conjunction with psoralen to promote healing. In very severe cases, steroid tablets or injections may be given, and in recent years a new drug called etretinate has become available to treat the most severe cases. Although it is a chronic and sometimes severe disease, psoriasis can usually be successfully controlled.

Please Note:

  • The information provided on this page is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a registered physician or other healthcare professional.

  • The content of this page is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. Do not use this information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.

  • Be sure to consult with your doctor for a professional diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)