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Is Psoriasis Genetic?

Is Psoriasis Genetic?
Akanksha Nigam

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a condition that causes rashes and inflammation on the skin. It is an auto-immune disease with patches of discolored skin covered with scales. Although these patches may appear on any body part, they mostly develop on the elbow, knee, and scalp. These thick and scaly areas are called plaques. Psoriasis happens because of rapid skin cell growth. Generally, our skin cells grow and shed in a month, but in psoriasis, the duration of this cycle is reduced to 3-4 days. Instead of shedding, the old skin accumulates on the skin's surface and may burn, itch, or sting.

The inflammation caused by psoriasis can also impact other body parts. One of the associated conditions is Psoriatic Arthritis which causes swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints and the surrounding areas.

cause of psoriasis

There are several different types of psoriasis which can affect multiple locations on the body. Common sites are genitals, scalp, face, hands, feet, nails, and skin folds.

The various types are known:

  • Guttate psoriasis
  • Pustular psoriasis
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Inverse psoriasis
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis

Psoriasis symptoms

 While psoriasis can start at any age, according to, it often starts between the ages of 15 and 25. Common symptoms of psoriasis are:

  • Patchy rashes
  • Rashes 
  • Small scaling spots
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Itching, burning, or stinging feeling

The symptoms also vary as per the type of psoriasis.

What is the root cause of psoriasis?

Psoriasis's exact cause is unknown, but we know that the immune system is responsible. The immune system is supposed to fight any alien presence in the body and protect it. The problem arises when the immune system mistakes the healthy cells for unknown entities and starts attacking them. This causes the inflammation in healthy cells to swell and turn into plaque. The over-active immune system changes the development period of new skin cells to 3-4 days instead of the regular 30 days, which causes deposits of old skin over the new skin.

Genes also play an important role. If a family member has psoriasis, there is a higher chance that you or a loved one might also develop this disease.

Early research suggested that the psoriatic skin contains a gene mutation. Later it was discovered that this gene mutation alone is not responsible for passing the disease to the family. Although genetic studies can now indicate the chances of a person developing this condition, there is no concrete answer regarding how genes pass this skin disease on to another family member.

Sometimes, psoriasis is triggered by certain other factors, including:

  • Stress: This is the most common trigger. Relaxation techniques and managing stress might help prevent this condition
  • Skin injury: Psoriasis can also occur in the areas of the skin which have been torn, cut, or scratched
  • Illness: Any illness which affects the immune system
  • Weather: Cold, dry, less humid weather

Which treatment is best for psoriasis? 

If you have severe symptoms, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. Your doctor will determine the treatment depending on the type, severity, and area affected. There are 3 levels of treatment:

  • Topical: application of creams and ointments to the skin.
  • Phototherapy: skin is exposed to UV light.
  • Systemic: oral and injected medications.

Psoriasis treatment cream

Topical treatment is the first treatment given for mild to moderate psoriasis. It includes:

  1. Emollients: Applied directly to the skin, they provide moisture and reduce itching and scaling. They also reduce water loss and cover the skin with a protective film.
  2. Steroid creams or ointments: Reduce inflammation and itching and slow down the production of skin cells.
  3. Vitamin D analogs: Used with steroid creams and provide anti-inflammatory relief.
  4. Calcineurin inhibitors: Reduce inflammation and the immune system's activities.
  5. Dithranol: Used under hospital supervision, it effectively reduces skin cell production.

Other treatments for psoriasis

Other treatments which can be helpful for psoriasis are:

  1. Light Therapy: LED lights can help reduce inflammation and skin cell production.
  2. PUVA: A combination of the medication psoralen and UV lights.
  3. Retinoids: Vitamin A drugs that help with psoriasis but also have some side effects.
  4. Immune Therapy: Focuses on blocking the immune system to prevent it from attacking healthy cells.
  5. Cyclosporine: Found to be helpful in severe cases of psoriasis but also comes with side effects.

Psoriasis has multiple effects on one's life, from deciding which clothes to wear and how to manage the symptoms to managing the skin condition and emotional, mental, and overall health. Psoriasis can affect relationships, and even going out in public becomes a challenge because of the itch and the appearance of the skin. To manage psoriasis and its effects, taking medication on time and regularly using moisturizers and creams is important. If the condition worsens, consult a healthcare provider. 


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HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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