2% of the population live with Psoriasis but what causes the skin condition and how should it be treated?

Consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto has shared some important information on the inflammatory skin disorder as we mark Psoriasis Awareness Month.

Although it's one of the most uncommon illnesses, 20,000 people are thought to be affected by it every year, according to Blue Bird Care.

Here's everything you need to know from what it is and what it looks like to whether it can be cured and how to treat it.

What is psoriasis?

"The outermost layer of our skin, known as the epidermis, continually sheds skin cells in order to replace them with new ones," Dr Mahto explained.

"Those who suffer from psoriasis find that this process is sped up. What would typically take weeks ended up happening over the course of days. 

"This increase in skin cell turnover is what leads to the symptoms that manifest as a result of the condition."

What causes it?

Stress, smoking and a genetic condition are among the factors that can cause or trigger Psoriasis.

"Psoriasis can be caused by multiple factors but perhaps the most common is that it is a genetic condition," the expert commented.

"If one of your parents or siblings has it, then you are much more likely to develop it when compared with someone with no family history of it."

Dr Mahto added: "Psoriasis can be worsened by environmental factors too. Stress, smoking, certain medications can also act as triggers and cause the condition to become worse."

Cumnock Chronicle: Stress, smoking and a genetic condition are among the factors that can cause or trigger Psoriasis. ( Alamy Stock Photo/PA)Stress, smoking and a genetic condition are among the factors that can cause or trigger Psoriasis. ( Alamy Stock Photo/PA) (Image: Alamy Stock Photo/ PA)

What does Psoriasis look like?

Pink patches may appear on the skin and there can sometimes be a silvery scale on the surface.

"They can be tender for some people as they can cause itching in some cases," the dermatologist stated.

Although any area of the body can be affected by the condition, the most common spots are the elbows, knees and the scalp.

Can it be cured?

Psoriasis is a condition that can't be cured but it can be managed with treatments and medications.

"Psoriasis is what we refer to as a chronic condition meaning that this is currently no cure for it," Dr Matho explained.

"There are, however, multiple treatment options on how to keep it under control," the doctor added.

"Your specific treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and how it's affecting you.

"Some treatment options include steroid creams, medications, as well as phototherapy, which is a light treatment."

Can I treat it at home?

Psoriasis can be managed at home by making sure that you moisturise daily.

"The best thing you can do to treat it at home is to liberally apply moisturiser every single day," the expert recommended.

"For those that suffer with scalp symptoms, there are medicated shampoos we can prescribe which can really help manage the condition."

Where can I find support?

There are several places where you can find support if you are struggling with psoriasis.

"There are some fantastic charities in the UK that can help support. The British Skin Foundation is a good place to start.

"There is also the Psoriasis Association too," Dr Mahto suggested.