Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that affects the skin and sometimes the joints and nails as well. It is most commonly seen on the elbows, knees, scalp, hands, feet, and lower back. This condition affects about 2% of the population.

Psoriasis causes red patches on the skin with silvery scales on top. The patches are usually itchy but they may also be painful to touch. Psoriasis symptoms vary in severity from person to person and can range from mild to severe psoriatic arthritis in some people.

Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis has a characteristic appearance but can be mistaken for other skin conditions like eczema. Common signs and symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Small bumps

    In the early stages of psoriasis, small bumps are visible. These bumps grow and thicken and scales form on top.

  • Crusting on the scalp

    Dandruff-like plaques can be present on the scalp.

  • Disorders of the nails

    Fingernails and toenails can be affected, manifesting as discoloration and pitting of the nails. The nails may also be brittle and crumble or fall from the nail bed.

  • Joint pain and swelling

    Pain and swelling of the joints also known as psoriatic arthritis, affects about 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis.

  • Cyclic rashes

    The plaques of psoriasis flare for a few weeks or months and then gradually disappear.

  • Dry, cracked skin

    When scratching this rash, the scales on top may tear away from the skin and cause bleeding.

  • Itchy or painful plaques

    Characteristic of psoriasis, these are red-colored, often covered with silver scales. These plaques may be itchy or painful. In severe cases, the plaques grow and merge, covering large areas.

Common Causes of Psoriasis

Many people who have psoriasis can be symptom-free for a long period of time until the disease is triggered by some environmental factor:

  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Injury to the skin, such as a cut or insect bite
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Medications (lithium, blood pressure medications such as beta-blockers, and antimalarial drugs)
  • Sudden withdrawal of oral or injected corticosteroids

Is Your Psoriasis Affecting Your Quality Of Life?

Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

Treatments For Psoriasis

There are numerous available treatment options to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis.

Common treatments include:

  • Steroid creams or ointments
  • Moisturizers
  • Anthralin (a medication to slow skin cell production)
  • Medicated lotions or shampoos
  • Vitamin D3 ointments
  • Vitamin A or retinoid creams

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre 38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-36
Singapore 329563
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your journey to optimal skin health

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    your journey to optimal skin health

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are there any complications that I should watch out for?

    If you have psoriasis, you’re at greater risk for developing conditions such as:

    • Psoriatic arthritis
    • Temporary lightening or darkening of the skin where plaques have healed
    • Eye conditions (conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and uveitis)
    • Obesity
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • High blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases
    • Other autoimmune diseases
    • Mental health issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression
    What can I do to take care of myself?
    • Avoid scratching or picking on the plaques.
    • Take medications as instructed by your doctor.
    • Apply moisturizer regularly, especially after bathing.
    • Use a mild soap for bathing and a medicated shampoo if you have scales on your scalp.
    • Lower your risk for related conditions such as heart disease, depression, and diabetes through lifestyle modification
    • Avoid emotional stressors or consult a mental health professional if with signs and symptoms of depression.