Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. It is not infectious and is most commonly seen as small patches on the body. The severity of psoriasis varies from person to person from a mild irritation to having a major impact on some peoples lives.


Psoriasis is thought to affect about 2% of population and is most common between the ages of 11 and 45, though it can affect any age group.


Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) condition.  Even when cleared, it can return at any time. There may be times when you have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, followed by times when the symptoms are severe.  It is most commonly seen on elbows, knees, lower back and scalp.


What happens to the skin?


Skin cells are constantly renewing themselves. This process takes about 21 to 28 days. The process is sped up for some reason in psoriasis and as a result, the cells are not fully mature and build up quickly causing red, scaly, flaky skin. These patches are easily shed.


Causes of Psoriasis


Psoriasis tends to runs in families.  Why – this is unknown, but there does seem to be a genetic link.


For some people, psoriasis symptoms start or become worse because of a certain triggers. Knowing your triggers may allow you to avoid a flare-up of psoriasis.


Common triggers include:


  • an injury to your skin such as a cut, scrape, insect bite or sunburn
  • stress
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • medicines including lithium, some antimalarial medicines, anti-inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure) and beta blockers (used to treat congestive heart failure). You must talk to your doctor if you think a medicine you are taking is a trigger
  • immune disorders, can cause psoriasis to flare up or to appear for the first time


Although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can improve symptoms and the appearance of the affected skin patches.


We recommend you use non perfumed soap and shower gels


Coal tar shampoo can help scalp psoriasis. Although this has a strong smell on application, the smell washes out with the shampoo.


Some research suggests milk thistle can help relieve symptoms.