Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.
Psoriasis is a persistent, long-lasting (chronic) disease. You may have periods when your psoriasis symptoms improve or go into remission alternating with times your psoriasis worsens.
For some people, psoriasis is just a nuisance. For others, it's disabling, especially when associated with arthritis. There's no cure, but psoriasis treatments may offer significant relief. Lifestyle measures, such as using a nonprescription cortisone cream and exposing your skin to small amounts of natural sunlight, can improve your psoriasis symptoms.
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. Mild cases of psoriasis may be a nuisance; more-severe cases can be painful, disfiguring and disabling.
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission. In most cases, however, the disease eventually returns.