Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that manifests most commonly as well-circumscribed, erythematous papules and plaques covered with silvery scales. Multiple factors contribute, including genetics. Common triggers include trauma, infection, and certain drugs. Symptoms are usually minimal, but mild to severe itching may occur. Cosmetic implications may be major. Some people develop severe disease with painful arthritis.

Causes:

The cause is unclear but involves immune stimulation of epidermal keratinocytes; T cells seem to play a central role. Family history is common, and certain genes and HLA antigens (Cw6, B13, B17) are associated with psoriasis. The PSORS1 locus on chromosome 6p21 likely determines a patient’s susceptibility of developing psoriasis. An environmental trigger is thought to evoke an inflammatory response and subsequent hyperproliferation of keratinocytes.

Signs and Symptoms:

Lesions are either asymptomatic or pruritic and are most often localized on the scalp, extensor surfaces of the elbows and knees, sacrum, buttocks (commonly the gluteal cleft), and genitals. The nails, eyebrows, axillae, umbilicus, and perianal region may also be affected. The disease can be widespread, involving confluent areas of skin extending between these regions. Lesions differ in appearance depending on type.