Psoriasis on arm

21 Aug 2023

Living with Psoriasis

Psoriasis affects around 2 in 100 people in the UK. It can start at any age, but most often develops in adults between 20-30years old and 50-60 years old, affecting men and women equally.

Although psoriasis is just a minor irritation for some people, for others it can significantly impact quality of life, both physically and psychologically. There is no cure for psoriasis, but it can be managed with the right treatment and advice.


What is psoriasis?

People with psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells. Skin cells are normally made and replaced every 3 to 4 weeks, but in psoriasis this process only takes about 3 to 7 days, resulting in a build-up of skin cells creating patches on the skin. Most cases of psoriasis go through cycles, causing problems for a few weeks or months before easing or stopping.

Patches normally appear on elbows, knees, the scalp and lower back, but they can appear anywhere on the body. On brown, black and white skin the patches can look pink or red, and the scales white or silvery. On brown and black skin the patches can also look purple or dark brown, and the scales may look grey.

There are several different types of psoriasis. Many people have only 1 type at a time, although you can have 2 different types together. One type may change into another or become more severe.

Although the process is not fully understood, it's thought to be related to a problem with the immune system. The immune system is your body's defence against disease and infection, but it attacks healthy skin cells by mistake in people with psoriasis.

The condition is not contagious, so it cannot be spread from person to person.


Treatment for psoriasis

A GP can often diagnose psoriasis based on the appearance of your skin.

Psoriasis is a complicated condition that is very unique to each individual. Everyone has different ways in which they cope with their psoriasis, and the amount of skin affected by psoriasis can differ greatly from person to person.

Whilst there’s no cure for psoriasis, there are a range of treatments that can improve symptoms and the appearance of skin patches. These include:

  • Topical – creams and ointments applied to your skin
  • Phototherapy – your skin is exposed to certain types of ultraviolet light
  • Systemic – oral and injected medications that work throughout the entire body

Different types of treatment are often used in combination.


If you have psoriasis a doctor may also suggest some changes to your lifestyle to help reduce symptoms including:

  • Stopping smoking;
  • Cutting down on alcohol and staying within the recommended limits;
  • Losing weight, if you are overweight or obese.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are recommended for everyone, not just people with psoriasis, because they can help to prevent many health problems. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly can also relieve stress, which may improve your psoriasis.

Psoriasis also goes beyond the physical symptoms – the effect that psoriasis can have on physical appearance means low self-esteem and anxiety are common among people with the condition.

By increasing awareness and supporting affected individuals, we can collectively contribute to a brighter future for those navigating the challenges of psoriasis.


For more information on living with psoriasis, the different types and symptoms, visit: Psoriasis - Living with - NHS (