Psoriasis is a disorder of the skin, which typically consists of red plaques covered by silvery-white scales.
These red scaly patches are usually found on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp.
When psoriasis involves the groin, armpits, and genital area and beneath the breasts it tends to be less scaly and have a glazed appearance.
Psoriasis infrequently affects the face. It does not cause scarring and rarely results in hair loss.
Psoriasis is common, affecting approximately 2% of adults. Its exact cause is unknown but the result is skin, which grows about seven times quicker and thicker than usual.
It is thought to be due, at least in part, to an abnormal immune reaction against some component of the skin.
Genetic factors play a part; only some families develop the condition, and about half those affected know of someone else in the family with it.
The rash often seems to start after some sort of trigger factor.
This may be emotional stress, skin injury (cuts and scratches for example), a streptococcal sore throat, hormones (it often first occurs at puberty), or rarely, certain medications.
These factors should be avoided whenever possible by people with psoriasis.
Psoriasis is not an allergy, nor is it infectious to others.
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