Psoriasis FAQ

What does psoriasis skin look like?

The way that psoriasis looks depends on the type of psoriasis and the part of the body it affects. The most common type of psoriasis, which affects around 80% of people with the condition, is plaque psoriasis. This causes dry, thick, pink or red patches on the skin which are covered by white or silvery scales on light skin, and violet (purple) or gray plaques on darker skin.

It usually develops on the scalp, elbows, knees or back, but it can appear on any part of the skin. About 50% of people that develop psoriasis on the skin, also develop it on the nails - nail psoriasis. This type of psoriasis can cause the nails to become yellow or brownish, pitted, crumbled, with grooved lines and even cause the nails to separate from the fingers or toes. 

When it affects the scalp, besides causing thick patches and scales, it can also cause hair loss. Other types of psoriasis may also occur, and present differently. 1,2

Can psoriasis be cured?

Unfortunately, psoriasis is a chronic skin condition for which there is currently no cure. Usually, the disease comes and goes in cycles of a few weeks or months. However,  there are many effective treatments available, including topical medication, phototherapy, systemic medication and complementary therapies such as acupuncture, that can lead to a complete remission of the lesions.1,2

Can you suddenly get psoriasis?

Yes, psoriasis can appear for the first time quite suddenly or slowly. Psoriasis outbreaks usually appear after the person has had contact with, or experienced a trigger. This could be in the form of injury to the skin, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical or emotional stress, use of certain medications and infections.3

 Additionally, the onset of psoriasis can occur at any age, but more commonly it happens between 20 and 30 years of age or between 50 and 60 years of age. 1,2

How do you know if psoriasis is starting?

In the early stages, psoriasis can cause swollen, red, and itchy areas in the skin. These lesions might then evolve to larger areas, become thicker and develop scales on top. 

Recognizing and avoiding psoriasis triggers may prevent psoriasis flares. Importantly, the triggers of psoriasis vary from person to person, so discuss with your doctor how to identify your psoriasis triggers and effective ways to avoid them. 1,2,3

How serious is psoriasis?

Psoriasis symptoms can vary from mild to severe, but psoriasis should always be taken seriously and managed with proper care for several reasons. First, it can cause significant discomfort in people's lives, by causing pain, and by affecting people’s self-esteem, concentration, and sleep, for example. 3,4 Second, people that have psoriasis can be at a higher risk of other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. 

Also, about 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which can have an important impact on their health and well-being. Lastly, in rare cases (about 3%), psoriasis can present as erythrodermic psoriasis, in which several blisters filled with pus appear in many parts of the body. This condition can be life-threatening and requires emergency medical attention. 1,2,3

What is the fastest way to cure psoriasis?

Unfortunately, there is still no cure for psoriasis. However, many effective treatments that can lead to a complete remission of psoriasis lesions are available.  Your healthcare provider can advise you on the most suitable treatment for you. 

Available treatments include topical or systemic medication and phototherapy. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, being physically active, not being obese or overweight, and not consuming excessive amounts of alcohol reduces the risk of developing psoriasis. 5,6

Why is psoriasis serious?

Psoriasis is a serious condition for several reasons. First, in rare cases, it can present itself as a type of psoriasis called erythrodermic psoriasis, which can be a life-threatening condition that requires emergency healthcare. 

Additionally, the disease can have a significant negative impact on people’s health and well-being; people with psoriasis might be at a higher risk of many other serious conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and there might be involvement of the joints, in a condition called psoriatic arthritis. 1-4

Is psoriasis always severe?

No, psoriasis is not always severe, since its symptoms can vary from mild to severe and the condition causes different symptoms with varying levels of severity in each individual. 

However, all cases of psoriasis require proper management and care by trained medical professionals, since the severity of the disease can increase, and the condition can have an important negative impact on people’s health. 1-4

Which doctor is best for psoriasis?

Psoriasis most commonly presents itself as a skin disease, and as such the best specialist doctors to see are dermatologists. In some cases, the joints might be affected and cause psoriatic arthritis, and in these cases, management by rheumatologists might be indicated. 

However, general practitioners might also be equipped to treat psoriasis, so consult with your doctor to know what is most indicated for your case. 

What triggers psoriasis?

There are many triggers for psoriasis, including skin injuries (e.g., tattoos, cuts and surgical incisions), alcohol consumption (especially when excessive), infections, emotional and/or physical stress, and the use of certain medications (e.g., lithium, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and beta-blockers). 

Each individual might have different triggers for psoriasis, thus, it is important to identify what triggers your psoriasis, since avoiding those triggers might be an effective way to prevent disease flares. . 1-4


  1. Di Meglio P, Villanova F, Nestle FO. Psoriasis. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014 Aug 1;4(8):a015354. 
  2. Boehncke WH, Schön MP. Psoriasis. Lancet. 2015 Sep 5;386(9997):983-94.
  3. Kamiya K, Kishimoto M, Sugai J, Komine M, Ohtsuki M. Risk Factors for the Development of Psoriasis. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 5;20(18):4347. 
  4. Gupta MA, Simpson FC, Gupta AK. Psoriasis and sleep disorders: A systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2016 Oct;29:63-75.
  5. Zheng Q, Sun XY, Miao X, Xu R, Ma T, Zhang YN, et al. Association between physical activity and risk of prevalent psoriasis: A MOOSE-compliant meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Jul;97(27):e11394.
  6. Jensen P, Skov L. Psoriasis and Obesity. Dermatology 2016;232:633-639. 

Juliana Lima Constantino

Medical Doctor and Master Student in Epidemiology, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Juliana completed her studies in Medicine in Brazil in 2019, during which she studied a year abroad in The Netherlands at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and took a Medical Elective in England at Oxford University.

After graduating, she worked as a general practitioner and as an emergency doctor in the frontline against COVID-19 in Brazil. In 2021, she moved to the Netherlands to do her Master in Epidemiology.

She is currently working on her Master Thesis in the Global Health Department, with a focus on maternal and child health. She is passionate about medical writing as it serve as a way of spreading trustworthy knowledge to everyone. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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