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What is psoriasis?


Psoriasis is a common and often lifelong (chronic), non-contagious disorder of the skin, usually with a genetic component.
It occurs when inflammatory chemicals produced by specialised white blood cells called lymphocytes trigger the proliferation and quick turnover of skin cells.
This commonly results in multiple, red, flaky plaques.
The scalp is one of the commonest areas to be affected and often the first site affected.
Plaques tend to be restricted to hair‐bearing areas, extending a short distance beyond the hairline.
The thick plaques of psoriasis are often itchy, tend to flare for weeks or months then go into remission and crop up again later.
Psoriasis typically has two peaks of incidence, the first occurring between 16-22 years and the second between 57 and 62 years of age.
At Aurora Dermatology one of our signature specialties is providing psoriasis injections and biological treatments for psoriasis.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

This skin disorder can appear quite differently from individual to individual but common symptoms include:

  • Raised and red/silvery flaky plaques
  • A small scaling spot (commonly seen in children) right through to major eruptions that cover large areas of the body
  • Many patients have shedding of the skin
  • Dry cracked skin that may cause burning, soreness, itching, or bleeding
  • Psoriasis of the nails can make the nails look thick, pitted and ridged and is often accompanied by swelling in the fingers (psoriatic arthritis)
  • This type of arthritic pain can also sometimes impact the fingers, toes, wrists, knees, lower back or ankles
  • Pain, stiffness, or both may accompany joint swelling

What are the different types of psoriasis?

There are several types of psoriasis and symptoms including:
Plaque psoriasis Eight out of 10 people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis.
It causes dry, raised, red lesions, covered by silvery plaques that usually appear on elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common and arguably the most aggressive type of psoriasis.
It can cover the entire body and may cause a peeling rash that can cause intense burning, shivering, fluid retention and needs urgent treatment.
Inverse psoriasis is more common in overweight people with deep skin folds in the groin, breasts, armpits and buttocks. This psoriasis has lesions that generally are minus the scales.
Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood or adolescence and is marked by small skin spots that tend not to crust as much as plaque psoriasis.
Pustular psoriasis is a rare condition more common in adults, characterised by pus-filled lesions and small, white bumps, or non-infectious pus blisters. Tends to commonly affect soles and palms.
Nail psoriasis can separate from the skin underneath the nail (onycholysis), and cause yellow, crumbly nails.
Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that combines the swollen, sore joints of arthritis with psoriasis. It causes joint stiffness, swelling, and pain.

What are the causes of psoriasis?

Common factors that can increae your risk include:

  • A family history of psoriasis
  • Excess coffee and alchohol
  • Streptococcal Infection
  • Excess sunshine
  • Extreme cold and dry weather conditions
  • Skin injury such as a srape or cut
  • Stress
  • Physical Trauma

Drugs such as

  • Lithium
  • Synthetic anti-malarials
  • Beta blockers
  • ACE Inhibitors
  • TNFa inhibitors
  • Withdrawal of oral corticosteroids.

Certain c-morbidities

  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Depression
  • Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure

What are the treatments for psoriasis?

Treatment of psoriasis will depend on the type and severity of the condition.
The main options include medications, phototherapy, and home lifestyle remedies.
Biologic therapies are one of Aurora’s signature treatments for severe psoriasis and have revolutionised the treatment of this disabling condition by targeting the specific parts of the immune system.
However, because these treatments are expensive the government will only subsidise the cost of treatment where the disease is particularly severe or all other options have been exhausted. Check with your dermatologist or GP.

Other effective treatments for psoriasis include:

  • Anti-itch agents and hydrocortisone cream (mild psoriasis)
  • Topical corticosteroids, cortisone creams/ointments/shampoo
  • Vitamin D analogue Daivobet creams/ointments /foam
  • Dithranol
  • Coal Tar
  • Topical Retinoids
  • Tacrolimus, Pimecrolimus
  • Phototherapy, narrow-band UVB Phototherapy with ultraviolet light can reduce irritation and
    slow immune activity, although some patients such as those with lupus are not suitable. Click here to learn more about Phototherapy.
  • Biologic treatment
  • Methotrexate
  • Psoriasis injections
  • Ciclosporin
  • Acitretin
  • Apremilast

Natural/home remedies do not cure psoriasis, but can alleviate symptoms.
These include frequently moisturising the skin, eating a healthy diet with lots of Omega 3s, stress reduction, and avoiding hot and frequent showers.

To book a consultation with a dermatologist please call us on
02 9423 0033 or email