Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Psoriasis: An overview

Prof. Dr. Vidyadhar Sardesai, MD, DNB, Consultant Dermatologist, Professor and Head Dept. of Dermatology, Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College, Pune

Published: Apr 27, 2022 10:13:32 AM IST
Updated: Apr 27, 2022 10:28:34 AM IST

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects the surface of the skin. Skin becomes inflamed, red, flaky, and itching, especially around the knees, elbows, and scalp. The condition is thought to affect one out of every 50 people, and it affects people of all ages, races, and genders. Psoriasis lesions are often located in areas of the body that are visible to other people.

According to a study conducted by the World Psoriasis Day Consortium, psoriasis affects 125 million individuals worldwide (2-3 percent of the global population). Though the specific cause of the condition is unknown, the symptoms of psoriasis can be managed by making simple lifestyle changes.


The signs and symptoms of psoriasis differ from person to person. The following are some of the most common indications and symptoms:

  • Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales
  • Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
  • Itching, burning or soreness
  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
  • Swollen and stiff joints

Types of Psoriasis

There are several types of psoriasis, including

Plaque Psoriasis: Plaque psoriasis is the most prevalent type, characterized by dry, elevated, red skin patches (lesions) covered with silvery scales. The plaques could be itchy or painful, and there could be a few or a lot of them. Elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp are the most common places where they appear.

Nail Psoriasis: Psoriasis can cause pitting, irregular nail development, and discoloration in the fingernails and toenails. The nails of people with psoriasis may weaken and split from the nail bed (onycholysis). In severe circumstances, the nail may crumble.

Guttate Psoriasis: This type primarily affects children and young adults. A bacterial infection, such as strep throat, is frequently the cause. Small, drop-shaped scaling lesions appear on the trunk, limbs, and legs.

Inverse Psoriasis: It produces bright red, glossy lesions in skin folds like the armpits, crotch, and under the breasts.

Pustular Psoriasis: The palms of the hands and soles of the feet develop red, scaly skin with small pustules.


As previously said, while the actual aetiology of psoriasis is unknown, medical researchers hypothesize that the following factors may contribute to the condition: Genetic factors, exposure to various medications (painkillers/NSAIDS, Beta blocker – a BP lowering medicine), Infections like streptococcal sore throat, Stress, Skin Trauma.

When Should Someone See A Doctor?

Consult your doctor if you suspect you have psoriasis. Also, if you have psoriasis, talk to your doctor about: becomes severe or widespread, causes you discomfort and pain, causes you concern about the appearance of your skin, leads to joint problems, such as pain, swelling or inability to perform daily tasks, and doesn't improve with treatment.


With the correct medical counsel, psoriasis can be efficiently controlled. Psoriasis has a number of treatment options, ranging from lotions and ointments to phototherapy, pills, and injections. Common treatments include: steroid creams, moisturizers for dry skin, vitamin D-based cream or ointment, Retinoid creams.

Along with treatment alternatives, one should be sure to make certain lifestyle adjustments, such as lowering stress, practicing excellent hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding excessive alcohol usage.

Challenges in Managing Psoriasis

  • Current treatment methods have drawbacks: Using topical creams requires patients to be diligent with applying them. These medications contain steroids-which have side effects.
  • Medications can be pricy
  • Limited treatment options exist
  • Conditions can fluctuate: Changes in the disease's severity are hard to predict. Stress, diet, weight changes, changes in seasons, and changes in health status all contribute to how psoriasis will manifest at a particular point in a person's life.
  • The condition has many comorbidities: Psoriasis is associated with a host of other significant health conditions including heart disease, metabolic disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression.
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