Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that affects about eight million women, men, and children in the United States alone, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The inflammation occurs because your immune system has become overactive.
If you have psoriasis, your overactive immune system kicks your skin-cell production into high gear. Instead of creating and shedding new skin cells on a monthly cycle, you start to produce new skin cells every three to four days. However, the old skin cells don’t shed. Instead, the new cells build up under the old ones, forming reddish welts or silvery plaques.
At Specialists in Dermatology, our dermatologists expertly diagnose and treat psoriasis, so you can feel better about — and in — your skin. Help starts with a diagnosis.
Do you think you might have psoriasis? Following are five signs that you might.
1. You have raised, silvery patches on your skin.
The build-up of dead skin cells that’s characteristic of psoriasis can cause raised areas of thickened skin called plaques. These plaques may be covered with a silvery coating of dead skin, called scale.
Lesions like these suggest that you have a type of psoriasis known as “plaque psoriasis.” Almost everyone (80-90%) who has psoriasis has plaque psoriasis.
2. Your skin’s covered with pink dots.
Another form of psoriasis — guttate psoriasis — is characterized by a sudden onset of tiny, raised pink or salmon-colored bumps. Although guttate psoriasis usually clears spontaneously after a few weeks, never to return again, in rare cases it becomes chronic.
Guttate psoriasis tends to affect children and young adults, but can strike at any age. It also usually first appears after an infection, such as strep throat.
3. Your nails look infected or damaged.
Psoriasis doesn’t just affect the skin. It can affect your fingernails and toenails, too. You might notice changes to your nails, such as:
- Little holes, dents, or “pits”
- Nails are crumbly and rough
- Nail detaches from nail bed
- One or more nail looks yellow, white, or brown
Usually about half of people with psoriasis develop nail psoriasis, too.
4. You get red, painful rashes where skin meets skin.
Inverse psoriasis appears in the folds of your skin and usually worsens when you sweat in those areas or if the rash is exposed to friction. Common places for inverse psoriasis are:
- Under breasts
Inverse psoriasis may be triggered by a fungal infection.
5. You have rashes and your joints hurt.
An overactive immune system can attack your joints as well as your skin. About a third of people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes red, swollen, and painful joints.
More severe types of psoriasis manifest as pus-filled lesions on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, or even your entire body. Another form of psoriasis can cover your body with a painful, red, peeling rash that feels like you’ve been burned. Contact us immediately if you have major skin changes or skin pain.
Instead of suffering in silence with psoriasis, or covering up your plaques and rashes with clothing, contact Specialists in Dermatology in Houston, Texas, or The Woodlands, Texas for relief today. Phone the office nearest you, or use our online form.