Let’s Explore Psoriasis

August is National Psoriasis Awareness Month

An estimated 8 million Americans have psoriasis – making it one of the most common autoimmune disorders in the United States. August is observed as “National Psoriasis Awareness Month” with the objective to spread awareness about psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune condition that causes a rapid buildup of skin cells that result in scaling on the skin’s surface. The buildup of skin cells can cause red, itchy, scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. Some people with psoriasis can also develop a type an autoimmune joint disease called psoriatic arthritis.

Types of Psoriasis

Plaque (plack) psoriasis – most common
Patches of thick raised skin covered with a silvery scale. Usually appears on the scalp, elbows, knees, or lower back — but they can develop anywhere on the skin.
Scalp psoriasis
Thick or thin scaly, itchy patches along the hairline of the scalp and extending onto the forehead, neck or ears. Very thick patches can lead to hair loss.
Nail psoriasis
This can develop with any type of psoriasis. Signs include purple-black lines, yellow-brown spots, tiny pits, crumbling nails, and nails separating from fingers or toes.
Guttate (gut-tate) psoriasis
This type often develops in children and young adults, after they’ve had an infection, such as strep throat or another trigger. It causes a sudden onset of lots of small, scaly spots on the trunk and extremities.
Pustular psoriasis
Painful, pus filled bumps on the hands and feet. Appear to be infected but the bumps have no bacteria in them.
Inverse psoriasis
Shiny, smooth patches instead of scaly ones that are bright red and often sore. Patches are found where skin touches skin, such as the armpits or the groin area.
Erythrodermic (eh-rith-row-der-mic) psoriasis
This type of psoriasis is rare and causes large areas of skin to look burnt. This type of psoriasis can be life threatening.
Psoriatic arthritis
20% or more of people with psoriasis of their skin can develop a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. It causes swollen tender joints especially in the hands and feet, back pain and/or morning stiffness.

Psoriasis Triggers

  • Infection (such as strep throat)
  • Skin injury (such as a sunburn or cut)
  • Stress
  • Cold weather
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Medication use (beta-blockers, lithium, or antimalarial drugs)



1. Prescription and OTC creams and ointments

    • Rx topical steroids, vitamin D analogues, topical retinoids, and calcineurin inhibitors can calm down the inflammation.
    • OTC products that contain salicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, selenium sulfide, and moisturizers can exfoliate and hydrate the skin.

2. Ultraviolet light

    • Skin exposure to natural sunlight or artificial UV light causes the hyperactive immune cells in the the skin to die, which slows down the cell turnover and calms down inflammation.
    • Limited UV exposure to avoid sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer.

3. Systemic medications

    • Rx oral or injectable medications, including immunomodulating medications (such as Otezla, Skyrizi, Cosentyx, Stelara, and more), retinoids, methotrexate, and cyclosporine can eliminate the skin and joint disease of psoriasis.

If you feel like you might be experiencing psoriasis or would like to explore a more comprehensive treatment approach to your symptoms, schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Cera Hill and Dr. Ghiselli.



EltaMD Moisture Rich Body Crème

One of our favorites for patients with psoriasis or eczema or for anyone seeking extra hydration in Denver’s dry climate. Non-greasy, luxurious, ceramide-enhanced formula with enzymes to promote a healthy skin barrier. LEARN MORE

ISDIN Uradin Podos Gel Oil
Lightweight hydrating gel oil which quickly absorbs into the skin, designed to eliminate hard, rough skin on both the heels and soles of the feet, elbows or knees. Dual exfoliating and moisturizing action works to help rough areas feel softer and look visibly smoother. LEARN MORE