Psoriasis: Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

12 October 2023

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune and genetic disease that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. It is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite its prevalence, many individuals do not fully understand the condition or how to manage its symptoms.

Dr Felix Yap, a consultant dermatologist at Sunway Medical Centre, provides insight into psoriasis, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What are the Causes of Psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of psoriasis are more likely to develop the condition.

In addition, certain triggers, such as stress, infections, injuries to the skin, and certain medications, can cause psoriasis to flare up or worsen.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis symptoms can vary in severity and type. The most common symptoms include:

  • Red, scaly patches on the skin
  • Dry and cracked skin that can bleed
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Soreness

In some cases, psoriasis can also affect the nails, causing them to become discoloured, thickened, and brittle.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis and Eczema: What's the Difference?

Psoriasis and eczema are two common skin conditions that are often confused with each other. While eczema is more common than psoriasis, affecting around 20-25% of the population, psoriasis affects around 2-3% of the population in Malaysia.

Eczema is characterised by itchy skin, while psoriasis is characterised by flaky skin. If you have eczema, environmental or food allergens can worsen your symptoms. Those with eczema are particularly susceptible to developing contact dermatitis.

Psoriasis, on the other hand, is a different type of skin disease and not an allergic skin condition. It is an autoimmune and genetic condition, making it distinct from eczema. According to Dr Felix Yap, to distinguish between psoriasis and eczema, it is recommended to obtain a professional diagnosis.

What are the Treatment Options for Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition with no cure, but there are several treatment options available that can help manage its symptoms. Treatment options for psoriasis include:

  • Topical Medications: These are creams, ointments, and lotions applied directly to the affected area. They work by reducing inflammation and slowing down the growth of skin cells.
  • Systemic Medications: These are medications taken orally or by injection that work throughout the body. They are typically used for moderate to severe psoriasis and work by suppressing the immune system.
  • Light Therapy: This involves exposing the affected area to ultraviolet light, which slows down the growth of affected skin cells and reduces inflammation.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Certain lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing stress, can help manage psoriasis symptoms.

It is important to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment options for your specific case of psoriasis.

Mr Param's Journey with Psoriasis

Mr. Param has been dealing with psoriasis since 1986, when he first noticed white spots on his head. He mistook it for dandruff and treated it as a scalp problem. But, when it did not improve, he sought medical attention and was diagnosed with psoriasis.

He has been living with psoriasis for several years and has tried a range of treatments, including creams and steroid medications, but hadn't found lasting improvement until consulting with Dr Felix Yap.

With the help of Dr Felix Yap, he found a treatment that worked for him and was able to control his symptoms. Despite the challenges that come with living with psoriasis, Mr. Param remains positive and encourages others with the condition to seek medical help and find a treatment that works for them.

Managing Psoriasis: Tips from Dr Felix Yap

Dr Felix Yap recommends a holistic approach to managing psoriasis, which includes medical care and lifestyle adjustments. He recommends regular medical check-ups with a dermatologist or rheumatologist to monitor the disease's progression and adjust treatment as needed.

He also emphasises the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management. Finally, Dr Felix Yap recommends seeking medical care as soon as possible if you suspect you have psoriasis. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the disease from progressing and potentially leading to other health complications.

If you experience any symptoms related to psoriasis, book an appointment with Dr Felix Yap now :