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What causes plaque psoriasis?

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Quick Answer

Plaque psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that is caused by an abnormal immune system response, explains WebMD. The faulty immune response causes skin cells to develop at a rapid rate, which in turn causes patches or plaques to develop on the skin.

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Full Answer

While the underlying cause of plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune response, flare-ups can be triggered by a variety of factors, explains Healthline. Common triggers include alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, emotional stress, and medications such as steroids and blood pressure medicines. Injuries to the skin and illnesses may also trigger outbreaks.

Plaque psoriasis patches and plaques can develop on any area of the body, including the genitals and inside the mouth, explains Mayo Clinic. The plaques are typically red in color and covered with scales. Psoriasis plaques may also be itchy or painful. Flare-ups tend to present in cycles that can last anywhere from one to two weeks or several months.

Treatment for plaque psoriasis include topical ointments that hinder the production of skin cells and systematic prescription medications that work internally, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Systematic prescription medications are typically only utilized in individuals who don't respond to other treatments. Individuals with plaque psoriasis may also benefit with phototherapy, a procedure in which the skin is treated with ultraviolet light on a continual basis.

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