While scientists do not know what exactly causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. Usually, something triggers psoriasis to flare. The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions.
Psoriasis often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age. Psoriasis is not contagious. It is not something you can "catch" or that others can catch from you. Psoriasis lesions are not infectious. There are five types of psoriasis but people most often have only one type of psoriasis at a time.
Plaque psoriasis (also called psoriasis vulgaris) is the most common form of psoriasis, and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells or scale. The itchy, painful patches can crack and bleed, and commonly affect the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower extremities.
Corticosteroids, or just "steroids," are the most frequently used treatment for psoriasis and may reduce swelling and redness. Vitamin D3 and vitamin A are also used in prescription topical treatments.
Non-prescription treatments commonly include salicylic acid and coal tar and may also contain aloe vera, zinc or capsaicin..
If you suffer from psoriasis ask your doctor if a compounding pharmacy can prepare a combination of the ingredients that the doctor feels will work best for you into one convenient, easy to use prescription.
For more information about psoriasis causes, symptoms and treatments, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation