What is Psoriasis?


It is easy to assume that psoriasis is merely a “skin condition.” However, psoriasis actually begins underneath the skin. It is a long-lasting (chronic) condition of the immune system that ranges from mild to severe.

Similar to other chronic diseases, psoriasis may also be associated with other medical conditions including Type 2 diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness provides treatments for psoriasis to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations.

How does Psoriasis Occur?

Psoriasis symptoms may appear on the skin’s surface. However, this is only one part of the story. In normal conditions, the body takes around 28 to 30 days to generate new skin cells shedding the old ones.

In case of plaque psoriasis, the immune system is overactive prompting skin swelling which leads to the faster production of skin cells than normal. Instead of the normal 28 to 30 days, new skin cells are pushed to the surface of the skin in only three to four days.

However, the body cannot shed new skin cells at that rapid rate. This causes the old, dead skin cells to accumulate on top of each other while new skin cells are being generated.

With the rapid production of new skin cells, the old cells are pushed to the skin’s surface. This leads to the formation of itchy, red, thick and flaky patches called plaques.

The exact cause of psoriasis is not yet known.

Psoriasis Types

Psoriasis is often mistakenly thought of as a single skin disease. But there are various forms of psoriasis although a patient will usually have only one type at a time.

Every type of psoriasis has different attributes and symptoms and may appear on the skin in various ways.

It is crucial to understand and share with others that despite where psoriasis occurs on the body or what it looks like, it is not a contagious condition.

Plaque Psoriasis

This form of psoriasis involves elevated, swollen, red lesions that are covered by silvery white scales. Plaque psoriasis usually occurs on the knees, elbows, scalp, and lower back. This is the most commonly occurring form of psoriasis, and 80 percent of psoriasis patients have this type.

Guttate Psoriasis

This type of psoriasis often begins in childhood or young adulthood. It occurs as tiny, pink, individual spots on the skin of the arms, legs, and torso. These spots are not typically as thick as those in plaque psoriasis.

Inverse Psoriasis

These lesions are located in the groin, in the armpits, beneath the breasts and in other skin folds around the genital and buttock area. Inverse psoriasis looks like bright-red lesions that are shiny and smooth.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis occurs mainly in adults, and its distinguishing characteristic is blisters of noninfectious pus which are surrounded by red skin. It could be localized to specific body parts such as the feet and hands, or cover a large part of the body.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is an especially inflammatory type of psoriasis that impacts most of the surface of the body. Its characteristics are periodic, extensive, fiery skin redness, and the shedding of scales in sheets.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for psoriasis treatments.

If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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