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Psoriasis is a disease where your immune system causes skin cells to build up faster than normal. Plaque psoriasis, the most common type, appears as thick, red patches with silvery skin on top. The patches may itch, burn or sting.

Psoriasis: what you should know

  • Psoriasis is not contagious.
  • Certain genes make people more likely to develop psoriasis. If a family member has psoriasis, you may have one of these genes.
  • Some people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis – swelling and stiffness in joints and tendons.
  • Scalp psoriasis is common among people with psoriasis. It can be mild with a little scaling or thick plaques can cover your whole scalp.

How can I get help for psoriasis?

Contact your primary care doctor about a skin rash that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications. If it’s psoriasis, your doctor will refer you to a dermatologist, a skin doctor.

Care for people with psoriasis at Rush

  • The treatment that your dermatologist recommends will depend on the severity of your psoriasis. Dermatologists at Rush are experienced in caring for patients with difficult-to-treat psoriasis.
  • Your dermatologist may start with mild treatments to prevent unwanted side effects. Mild treatments include creams that you apply to your skin and light therapy.
  • If mild treatments are not providing enough relief or are not appropriate for you, pills and injections are also available.
  • Your doctor may need to change medications if your response to treatment changes. Tell your doctor if a treatment is no longer effective for you or if you develop uncomfortable side effects.

Why choose Rush for psoriasis care

  • Rush offers a wide range of psoriasis treatments, from light therapy to pills to biologics. The newest biologics target specific proteins in the immune system. They are less likely to cause serious side effects.
  • Dermatologists at Rush are involved in developing new psoriasis treatments, including biologics. Clinical trials are available.
  • People with psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis. Rush offers rheumatology services to diagnose and treat psoriatic arthritis. Services include an immunotherapy infusion center for you to receive intravenous treatments comfortably.
  • Specialists at Rush are available if you need them for other health problems. Research shows that some people with psoriasis have an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and depression. Your doctor can refer you to the right specialist at Rush if a problem develops.

Departments and programs that treat this condition