Information for the public
Psoriasis is a skin disease in which normal skin cells are produced faster than they are shed. This results in a build-up of cells seen as patches of raised, red, flaky, skin covered with silvery scales (known as plaques). The skin can also become inflamed (red and swollen). The severity of psoriasis varies greatly, and for many people it has a big impact on their lives. Psoriasis is usually a lifelong condition. At times it might clear up completely but it will normally return. Psoriasis can start at any age, but it is less common in children.
There are different types of psoriasis; most people have a type called plaque psoriasis in which plaques usually appear on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, although they can occur on any part of the body. However, there are other types (such as guttate and pustular psoriasis) including some very rare forms that can lead to more serious illness.
Some people with psoriasis also develop joint disease called psoriatic arthritis.
There is no cure for psoriasis. However, for many people treatment will help to control the disease by clearing or reducing the patches of psoriasis.