No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but experts believe that it’s a combination of things. Something wrong with the immune system causes inflammation, triggering new skin cells to form too quickly. Normally, skin cells are replaced every 10 to 30 days. With psoriasis, new cells grow every 3 to 4 days. The buildup of old cells being replaced by new ones creates those silver scales.
Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may skip generations. For instance, a grandfather and his grandson may be affected, but not the child’s mother.
Things that can trigger an outbreak of psoriasis include:
- Cuts, scrapes, or surgery
- Emotional stress
- Strep infections
- Medications, including blood pressure medications (like beta-blockers), Hydroxychloroquine, antimalarial medication
Luckily, there are many treatments. Some slow the growth of new skin cells and others relieve itching and dry skin. Your doctor will select a treatment plan that is right for you based on the size of your rash, where it is on your body, your age, your overall health, and other things. Common treatments include:
- Steroid Creams
- Moisturizers for dry skin
- Coal tar (a common treatment for scalp psoriasis available in lotions, creams, foams, shampoos, and bath solutions)
- cream or ointment (a strong kind ordered by your doctor. Vitamin D in foods and pills has no effect.)
- Retinoid creams