The most common form of psoriasis that affects about 80% of all sufferers is psoriasis vulgaris ("vulgaris" means common). It is also referred to as plaque psoriasis because of the well-defined areas of raised red skin that characterize this form. These raised red plaques have a flaky, silver-white buildup on top called scale, made up of dead skin cells. The scale loosens and sheds frequently.
Lesions are either asymptomatic or pruritic and are most often localized on the scalp, extensor surfaces of the elbows and knees, sacrum, buttocks (commonly the gluteal cleft), and genitals. The nails, eyebrows, axillae, umbilicus, and perianal region may also be affected. The disease can be widespread, involving confluent areas of skin extending between these regions. Lesions differ in appearance depending on type.
Topical treatments such as creams and gels which are applied directly to the site of psoriatic skin rash are the most commonly used therapies. Topical treatments are typically safe and may be used alone (in cases of mild disease) or in combination with systemic or phototherapies (discussed below) in cases of moderate-severe disease. When deciding which topical treatment is best, it is important to consider the time and difficulty involved in applying the treatment. Preparations which can be applied easily with little mess are recommended, as when the treatment is easy to use, it is more likely to be used frequently and as recommended by the doctor.
Join Us Life with psoriasis can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can reduce flare-ups and live a healthy, fulfilling life. These three areas will help you cope in the short- and long-term:
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People with psoriasis may feel self-conscious or embarrassed, and/or sad or anxious about the way their skin looks or makes them feel. If you have psoriasis and it is affecting the quality of your life, tell your health care provider. He or she can recommend a therapist and/or may know of a support group where you can talk with others with similar skin issues.
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