Encyclopedia > Psoriasis

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Psoriasis is a skin condition consisting of gray or silvery flaky patches which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched. Common areas include the scalp, elbows, knees, navel, and groin. Psoriasis is thought to be auto-immune in origin, and is not contagious.

Psoriatic skin cells reproduce at several times the normal rate and tend to pile up on the surface, forming itchy patches or "plaques". Psoriasis tends to be triggered by emotional stress or physical skin injury, but the biggest factor appears to be heredity.

Psoriasis has no cure, but somewhat effective treatments include sunlight, artificial UV light, steroids, coal tar, and synthetic Vitamin D analogues. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis have been observed to provide relief from psoriasis.

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