What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin disease which apparently develops from a genetic predisposition. It affects the life cycle of skin cells. Normally, it takes about 30 days for new cells to move from the lowest skin layer, where they are produced, to the outermost layer, where they die and scale off in tiny flakes. With psoriasis, however, the entire cycle takes only 3-4 days. As a result, dead cells accumulate rapidly forming thick scales. Psoriasis is characterized by flare ups and partial remissions. The attacks can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to large areas with major eruptions. Psoriasis most commonly affects your elbows, knees, trunk, and scalp; pits or ridges may develop in your nails. The eruptions take various forms, including pustules, cracking skin, itching, minor bleeding, or aching joints. See: First time psoriasis sufferers and What form of psoriasis do I have?