Shropshire
SKIN CLINIC
St Michael’s Street, Shrewsbury SY1 2HE  
The Lodge, Farley Road, Much Wenlock TF13 6NB
01743 590019
info@shropshireskinclinic.co.uk

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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin problem affecting about 2% of the population. It occurs equally in men and women, at any age, and tends to come and go unpredictably. It is not infectious, and does not scar the skin.

The skin is a complex organ made up of several different layers. The outer layer of skin (the epidermis) contains cells which are formed at the bottom and then move up towards the surface, gradually changing as they go, finally dying before they are shed from the surface. This journey normally takes between 3 and 4 weeks. In psoriasis, the rate of turnover is dramatically increased within the affected skin, so that cells are formed and shed in as little as 3 or 4 days. The reasons for this are still not fully understood.


Some people are more likely to develop psoriasis than others, particularly if there is someone else in their family who has psoriasis: in other words, it is a genetic or hereditary disease (see below). However, the trigger for psoriasis to appear is often an outside event, such as a throat infection, stress or an injury to the skin.


In practice, for most patients who develop psoriasis, or for whom it clears and then comes back, no obvious cause can be detected. Usually, sunlight improves psoriasis, though occasionally it makes it worse (especially if the skin gets burned). A high alcohol intake and smoking can worsen psoriasis too, as can medicines used for other conditions - such as lithium, some tablets used to treat malaria, and other drugs such as beta blockers (medicines commonly used to treat angina and high blood pressure). There is no apparent relationship between diet and psoriasis.

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