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Psoriasis Info

Psoriasis is a long-term, persistent, inflammatory skin disorder characterized by red, thickened areas of skin with white or silvery scales. Most often, it affects the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet may also be involved.

Psoriasis affects approximately 5% of people in Canada. Some cases of psoriasis are so mild that people don’t know they have it (e.g. itchy flaky scalp incorrectly attributed to dandruff).

Moderate or severe psoriasis may cover large areas of the body. Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be passed from one person to another through touch.

What is happening to your skin?

The outer layer of your skin is your epidermis which is made up of 5 sub-layers. The deepest sub-layer of your epidermis produces millions of new skin cells every day. In healthy skin, these cells are pushed up towards the surface where they naturally die and flake off.

This regeneration cycle takes approximately 30 days. In the plaques of a person with psoriasis, this process speeds up and can happen in as little as 3 or 4 days.

Because the skin cells grow too quickly, they are not shed normally. This causes a build-up of thick, dead skin that comes off in flakes. The skin looks red because there are many more blood vessels running through it; this is also why the plaques can bleed if you try to scratch the flakes away.