What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease caused by the immune system that results in the overproduction of skin cells. Cells begin developing over a few days rather than a few weeks. These extra skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin, forming patches or “plaques” of psoriasis.

Who gets psoriasis?

Psoriasis is usually a genetic condition; those who have psoriasis usually have one or more family members that also have the condition.

Psoriasis is common – about 7.5 million people in the U.S. are affected by psoriasis according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Is psoriasis contagious?

Psoriasis is not contagious. You cannot get psoriasis by touching the skin of someone else who has it. To get psoriasis, you must already have been born with the genes that cause it.

What causes psoriasis?

A person’s genetics and immune system are understood to be important factors of what causes psoriasis. Although, not everyone who has inherited the genes for psoriasis will have active flare-ups unless he or she is exposed to a “trigger.”

priasis can begin, be triggered for the first time following these types of events:

  • Sunburn, scratch, cut, or other skin injuries
  • Strep throat infection
  • Exposure to dry, cold weather
  • After taking particular medications like lithium
  • After undergoing malaria prevention treatment

Types of Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis

  • The most common type of psoriasis – makes up around 80% of all psoriasis cases
  • Causes thickened, white patches on the skin
  • Usually covered with gray or white scaling

Guttate psoriasis

  • Small red spots that usually appear on the abdomen, back, arms, and legs
  • Usually develop after an illness, such as strep throat
  • May resolve after a few weeks or months even without treatment

Pustular psoriasis

  • Characterized by pus-filled bumps that usually develop on the feet or hands
  • May experience pain and soreness at the site of the bumps

Inverse (Flexural) psoriasis

  • Develops at the sites where skin meets (i.e. the armpit, buttocks, groin, and genitals;. women may also develop patches under the breasts
  • Patches of red skin that appears to be raw and smooth

Erythrodermic psoriasis

  • Skin appears to have been burned
  • All or most of the body is extremely red
  • Unable to maintain normal body temperature – Can feel very hot or very cold

How can I know if I have psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a condition that your doctor can diagnose.

Diagnosis can usually be achieved clinically by Dr. Shafa. She will examine your skin, ask about your family history, and other potential triggering factors such as stress or illness.

If psoriasis is in doubt, Dr. Shafa will take a tiny sample of your skin lesion for microscopic evaluation by a pathologist to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment options



Once you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, Dr. Shafa will review all possible treatment options with you. In most cases, treatment is as simple as a prescription of topical lotions, ointments or light therapy. In the rare instance that you have persistent flare-ups of psoriasis, oral medications known as “biologics” may be needed. The good news is that your psoriasis can be resolved or controlled under the care of an experienced dermatologist, like Dr. Shafa.

Ask a question or call us today at (949) 551-1113 to begin treatment today!

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