How Psoriasis Affects the Skin

How and Why the Skin is Affected by Psoriasis

Psoriasis can affect several areas of the skin. The problem is that psoriasis causes the human skin to constantly renew itself, and it renews at an abnormally fast rate. In many cases, psoriasis renews skin cells at a rate that is seven times faster than the rate of normal skin.

Since psoriasis causes skin cells to renew too quickly, the cells never have enough time to mature. The end result is skin that looks scaly, loose and white. The visible skin damage that is caused by psoriasis can actually be scraped off of the body, and the skin can be removed with little effort.

Although normal skin has scaling, it's not visible because it's very small. The plaque that is caused by psoriasis can appear silvery and scaly. It gets its color from the fact that it's filled with skin cells that haven't matured. These immature skin cells make it to the skin's surface too quickly, which is why they're colored silver. However, it's not uncommon for psoriasis plaque to be a reddish color.

How Psoriasis Affects the Skin

Psoriasis causes the overall amount of blood cells to increase, which greatly increases blood flow and results in a reddish-colored plaque. Psoriasis can also cause severe inflammation. To really understand how psoriasis affects the skin, it's important to understand the epidermis.

What is It?

Also known as the outer layer of skin, the epidermis contains no nerves or blood vessels. It's possible to stick a pin through the outer layer of skin and feel no pain or bleeding. This outer layer of skin consists of what are called epithelial cells.

These cells are in constant motion, and they're always moving towards the skin's surface. Cells that are deep inside of the outer layer of skin are always moving down and outwards. This is the skin's process of renewal.

As these skin cells make their way to the skin's surface, they start to flatten and die, and eventually, they become parts of the outer layer. Dead skin cells are constantly being shed from the skin's surface.

Psoriasis Against Your Skin

The most well-known manifestation of psoriasis is patches of skin that have become inflamed. Some people refer to these infected skin patches as lesions. These patches of skin usually consist of white, silvery scales. They're called plaque psoriasis.

Some people only have a few lesions while others have large portions of their skin covered in lesions. In most cases, the lesions are inflamed, itchy, and uncomfortable. The common areas of the body that are affected by psoriasis are the torso, scalp, knees and elbows. However, psoriasis can develop any area of the body. Some people have psoriasis on their genital area, feet, palms, nails or face.

A moderate case of psoriasis is when anywhere from 3 to 10 percent of the body is affected. If psoriasis covers a percent of the body greater than 10 percent, it's considered to be a severe case.

Psoriasis and T Cells

Medical experts call psoriasis a T-cell mediated disease. Also known as white blood cells, T cells are part of the immune system. These white blood cells are constantly flowing through the body and looking for bacterium and viruses, which they proceed to destroy. Psoriasis causes white blood cells to activate and move into the skin.

Medical experts don't understand why psoriasis causes white blood cells to make their way into the skin. Although psoriasis can affect the skin in a negative way, there are a number of medications that can be used to treat the cause of psoriasis.