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Psoriatic Skin Lesions: January 19, 2011

For those diagnosed with psoriasis, it’s these ruby-red spots that can be a social sore spot. “It can happen anywhere in the body but there are certain parts of the body that psoriasis likes,” says Dr. Anna Shuster, a family practice physician on the Lee Memorial Health System.

Psoriasis is a genetic condition that occurs when the body’s immune system sends out faulty signals that cause skin production to accelerate. “You get this production of skin in a matter of days as opposed to weeks and it all builds up on the surface of your skin and forms these plaques,” adds Dr. Shuster. These plaques take the form of skin lesions. Dr. Shuster says certain lifestyle habits can also exaserbate the problem. “Things like medication, alcohol, smoking, all those things are triggers for this condition.”

Protecting the skin and seeking treatment can help to tame these skin outbreaks. “Yes, they can get worse. They can get better. If it’s caught early enough, you definitely have a better chance of getting quicker resolution.”

One in 5 patients with psoriasis is also at risk of joint problems. Researchers are trying to figure out the connection. “Skin lesions usually precede the arthritis, about 10 years or so.”

For some psoriasis sufferers, these un-slightly lesions go beyond the physical. They can conjure up self-esteem problems leading to isolation and depression.