The Red, Itchiness of Psoriasis

The Red, Itchiness of Psoriasis

Annoyed middle-aged man in white t-shirt scratching itch on his arm

Psoriasis is a common skin disease that causes the formation of scales and red patches on the skin. These can be itchy and painful. Psoriasis is a chronic disease that doesn’t have a cure, but at Skin Care Research we conduct clinical research trials into various areas of clinical dermatology, including psoriasis.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. It simply speeds up the lifecycle of the skin cells. This buildup of skin cells forms scales and red patches that can be itchy and painful. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes these patches will crack and bleed.

In the normal development of skin cells, the typical cycle takes about one month. New skin cells grow deep in the dermis layer of the skin and slowly rise to the surface to eventually be shed. In people with psoriasis, this production process may occur in just a few days. This doesn’t give the skin cells time to slough off, leading to a buildup and the formation of scaly patches.

What causes psoriasis?

Why some people develop psoriasis is still somewhat of a mystery. It’s thought to be an immune system problem, especially relating to your T cells and white blood cells called neutrophils. T cells usually course through the body looking for viruses and bacteria to attack, but with psoriasis, the T cells attack healthy skin cells by mistake. This causes inflammation.

These overactive T cells also trigger increased production of healthy skin cells, more T cells, and other white blood cells, particularly neutrophils. These cells also travel into the skin causing inflammation and sometimes creating pustular lesions. Psoriasis-affected areas become warm and red, due to dilated blood vessels.

The inflammation triggers more skin cells to be produced and they move to the outermost layer of the skin too quickly — a process that should take weeks occurs in only days. These cells build up on the skin surface in thick, scaly patches.

When does psoriasis become bad enough to merit a dermatologist’s help?

If you first suspect you have psoriasis, it’s time to see a dermatologist. It’s not that the condition is dangerous to your overall health, but it is an ongoing, chronic condition without a cure. The key is management of symptoms and understanding possible triggers that create outbreaks.

If you already know you have psoriasis, but have been managing it, if your condition changes in these ways, it’s time to call a dermatologist:

Your psoriasis…

  • Becomes severe or widespread
  • Causes you discomfort and pain
  • Causes you concern or self-consciousness about the appearance of your skin
  • Leads to joint problems, such as pain, swelling, or inability to perform daily tasks
  • Doesn’t improve with your home treatments

At Skin Care Research, we conduct clinical trials in various areas of both clinical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology. We have current trials for psoriasis. If you qualify for an ongoing trial, you can receive free treatment and possible compensation. If you’d like more information about our current clinical trials and to see if you would be eligible, please give us a call at (561) 948-3116.