Causes & Risk Factors

How Psoriasis HappensPsoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S.—it affects 7.5 million Americans. It often appears between ages 15 and 35, but can affect people of all ages and races, men and women equally.

The real story behind psoriasis lies deep in the cells of your body. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease—meaning your immune system has mistakenly launched an attack on your normal cells. And while psoriasis flares may come and go, allowing you to enjoy periods of clear skin, there’s still no permanent cure, so the problem lasts throughout your lifetime.

Many researchers believe people with psoriasis are born with a genetic predisposition to the disease. But they suspect that the condition itself appears only after exposure to some sort of trigger. In response, T cells, white blood cells critical to the immune system, invade the skin where they prompt your body to grow new skin cells about five times faster than normal. They also rush other cells to the site of your psoriasis, causing redness and inflammation. The result: a buildup of flaky, silvery skin patches, sometimes called plaques, that often itch or are painful to the touch.

Next - Symptoms
Published August 2011

Causes & Risk Factors
Your Healthcare Team
Questions to Ask
    Your Doctor

Quiz: How Severe
    is Your Psoriasis?

Never Tried a Biologic?
What Your Dermatologist
    Needs to Know

Topical Treatments
Phototherapy Treatments

Body-Wide Medications
When Your Treatment is Denied
    by Your Insurance Company

Look Your Best With Psoriasis!
Feel Your Best With Psoriasis
Your Answer to Smoother, Clearer Skin—Found!
Take Charge of Your Psoriasis and Protect
    Your Whole Body!

Try These Simple Skin-Care Tips
Quiz: Test Your Psoriasis Smarts
Simple Ways to Better Your Life
Ask the Experts: Dating Tips and More
Let Summer Soothe Your Psoriasis
Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Ease Psoriasis

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