What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a long-term condition; an overactive immune system causes inflammation and makes skin cells grow faster than usual, causing plaques to form on areas of the skin.1,2

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Infographic showing 2.8% of UK population affected by psoriasis
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Psoriasis is known to run in families

and recently, scientists have been able to identify gene variants that affect the cells that cause the symptoms of psoriasis, although there are more genes to be found.2,4

Research isongoing

As more genes involved in psoriasis are found, a better understanding is built of how it develops, and in the future this knowledge may be used to target treatments on an individual level.4

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Icon depicting psoriasis treatment research

Some geneshave been identified

but it is not yet clear how these gene mutations enact all their effects, how the environment affects this, and why it might lead to psoriasis.4

Psoriasis triggers

Psoriasis can be triggered by various factors related to a person’s environment and lifestyle5

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Stress can cause flares, and flares can cause stress, in a vicious circle 5

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Injury to the skin can cause the ‘Koebner response’, leading to a flare5

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Certain medications, such as lithium or ibuprofen, can lead to a flare5

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Bacterial and viral infections can cause or worsen flares5

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Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or smoking cigarettes can cause flares5

1. Griffiths CE, Barker JN. Lancet. 2007;370(9583):263-271.

2. Menter A, et al. G. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58(5):826-850.

3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Psoriasis: assessment and management (CG153). Available from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg153/chapter/ Introduction#:~:text=Psoriasis%20is%20an%20inflammatory%20skin,cases%20occur%20before%2035%20years. [Accessed July 2021].

4. Capon F. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(12):2526.

5. NHS. Psoriasis - Causes. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriasis/causes/ [Accessed July 2021].