Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Introduction to psoriasis

By Olivia Stevenson and Irshad Zaki

Psoriasis is one of the commonest skin disorders seen by general practitioners. It is a chronic skin disease that affects 2–3 per cent of the population in Western Europe. Worldwide, there are estimated to be 80 million people suffering from psoriasis.

The prevalence of psoriasis is identical in men and women, and across all socioeconomic groups. Certain areas, such as South America, China, and Nigeria, have a particularly low prevalence.

Psoriasis can develop at any age, although it commonly appears between the ages of 15 and 22. A second peak appears during the 60–69 age range. Females tend to develop psoriasis slightly earlier than males, and those with a family history also have an earlier age of onset. The disease may last for just a few weeks or for a lifetime, with alternating periods of relapses and remissions. It is difficult to predict the course of the disease.


Psoriasis is an inflammatory and proliferative disease of the skin that results in a rapid turnover of the skin cells. The turnover of cells can rise to seven times the normal rate, leading to thickening of the superficial layers of the skin. The most characteristic lesions consist of sharply demarcated, dullred or salmon-pink thickened patches with silvery scales.

The extensor surfaces of the limbs (especially the elbows, knees and shins), scalp, and lower back/buttocks are particularly affected, but psoriasis may involve any part of the body. When psoriasis involves the groins, armpits, perineum and the area under the breasts, the lesions tend to be less scaly and rather shiny.

The disease is highly variable in duration and extent, and there are several common morphological variants. Contrary to popular belief, up to 50 per cent of affected patients experience significant itch, especially on the scalp and lower legs.

Download the attached PDF to read the full article.

Citation: Hospital Pharmacist URI: 10976344

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary information

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.