Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes extra cells to build up quickly on the skin, states WebMD. These skin cells create patches and scales on the skin that are itchy, thick, dry and sometimes painful.
A physical exam or skin biopsy typically diagnoses psoriasis. There is no cure for it, but there are treatments such as topical ointments, light therapy and medications to slow skin cell growth, explains WebMD. Topical corticosteroids are the most common medications for mild to moderate psoriasis. Long-term topical corticosteroid use sometimes results in thinning of the skin, so they are to be used primarily during outbreaks to lower the risk of side effects. Various light therapies use natural or artificial ultraviolet light to slow skin cell growth, and oral or injected medications treat severe or resistant psoriasis.
The cause of psoriasis is unknown, but stress, heavy alcohol consumption, infections, injury, cold weather and certain medications trigger psoriasis outbreaks, states WebMD. Taking daily baths, using moisturizer and avoiding prolonged exposure to sunlight do not cure psoriasis, but they do improve skin appearance and soothe itching and pain. It is possible for psoriasis to affect anyone, but those with viral and bacterial infections, those who are obese, and those who have a family history of psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing this condition.