Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes cells in your skin to grow quickly. It is a chronic disease that can cause discomfort and pain.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

If you have psoriasis, you will likely see red, scaly patches of skin, or even cracked skin that could bleed. Your skin may itch or burn, and may be sore. Your finger and toe nails could be ridged or thickened, and your joints may feel swollen or stiff. If it is mild, you may have just a few spots of itchy, scaly skin, but larger and more severe cases of psoriasis will display disabling pain and disfigurement.

What causes psoriasis?

While the cause of psoriasis has not been proven yet, most doctors agree that it is related to the health of the immune system and whether or not you are genetically predisposed to the condition. Psoriasis can be triggered by a number of events, including cold weather, smoking, infections, skin injuries, or even stress.

How is psoriasis treated?

There are three types of psoriasis treatments: topical treatments, such as lotions and creams, light therapy, like ultraviolet light treatments, and medications. Medications can be taken orally or injected into your skin. The type of treatment used is based on the extent of your psoriasis and what areas of your skin are affected by the disorder.

How can you prevent psoriasis?

While psoriasis itself cannot be prevented, you can reduce the symptoms by keeping your skin moist, avoiding cold weather, and not picking at the skin. Keeping stress down and not smoking or drinking can also help.