Irish Skin Foundation-supporting people with skin conditions in Ireland

Psoriasis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory skin disease that is estimated to affect more than 73,000 people in Ireland. Anyone can develop psoriasis. It is equally common in men and women.

Psoriasis: The Facts

  • The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood

  • The tendency toward developing psoriasis is genetically inherited

  • However, environmental factors can also play a role. For example, in some cases, emotional stress or an infection can trigger the first episode of psoriasis or can exacerbate it

  • Psoriasis is not contagious

  • Psoriasis gets better and worse spontaneously and can have periodic remissions (clear skin)

  • It is sometimes associated with psoriatic arthritis

  • It is associated with a slightly higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease (angina, heart attack, stroke), and obesity

  • There is a strong association between psoriasis and depression

  • There is currently no cure, but psoriasis is controllable with medication

  • There are many promising therapies, including newer biologic drugs

Psoriasis affects the life cycle of skin cells, causing an accelerated rate of turnover of the top layer of the skin (epidermis). This leads cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick silvery scales.

Psoriasis usually appears as red elevated plaques (patches), covered with dry silvery scales that are often itchy, and sometimes painful. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp. However, it can present in many different ways.