What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic (lifelong) condition in which there is abnormal and rapid cycling of the skin’s cells, resulting in a buildup of immature cells on the surface of the skin in the form of patches, plaques or pustules. It is not contagious but its unsightly appearance can be of much concern to the sufferer. There are many different types of psoriasis of varying degrees and severity. This disease of the immune system can occur anywhere on the body. It is not something you can “catch” or that others can catch from you, and its lesions are not infectious.
Meet Dr. Robert Snyder
Robert A. Snyder
Board Certified Dermatologist
Board Certified Internist
Robert Snyder, MD joins Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in 2017 with an exceptional background in running a private practice of medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology since 1985. He graduated from Harvard College and received his MD from Boston University’s School of Medicine.
After completing his residency in Internal Medicine and Dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, he became board certified in both specialties. Dr. Snyder is a volunteer clinical associate professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine and is also involved in clinical research with a specialty interest in psoriasis, vitiligo, and complex medical dermatology.
Symptoms & Types
Psoriasis can cause embarrassment because of its noticeable scaling and redness. It can be painful, restrict daily activities and interfere with a good night’s rest.
There are a variety of psoriasis types with distinct characteristics. Sometimes, one type of psoriasis will coexist with another type or clear and another will form in response to a trigger. Regardless of the type, each outbreak can vary in intensity from a mild case contained in one spot to a severe outbreak that involves large patches of skin on multiple areas of the body.
The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which is characterized by raised, red patches covered with silvery-white scaling. This most often appears on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. Plaque psoriasis lesions can be itchy and painful, and the affected areas can crack and bleed. Plaque psoriasis affects about 80% of psoriasis sufferers.
The second-most common type of this skin condition appears as small red spots on the trunk, limbs, and scalp and can precede or coexist with other types. Guttate is often triggered by bacterial infections like strep throat, tonsillitis, and upper respiratory infections.
Also known as intertriginous psoriasis, shows up as smooth and shiny, very red patches in body folds near the genitals, breasts, or armpits. Many people have another type of psoriasis outbreak at the same time that they experience inverse psoriasis.
Uncommon but consists of white pustules (pus-filled blisters) surrounded by red skin. The pus consists of white blood cells and is not contagious. Pustular psoriasis can be widespread or localized to the hands or feet.
A rare yet particularly inflammatory form that usually affects most of the skin on the body and is sometimes happens at the same time as the pustular type. Fiery redness, itchiness, and exfoliation of the skin occur, and pain often accompanies. Erythrodermic psoriasis can be life-threatening.
Note: Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing an erythrodermic psoriasis flare-up.
Not a type of the disease, but between 10-30% of psoriasis patients will develop this corollary condition, ranging from mild to severe symptoms. These include stiffness, pain, and swelling in the joints, diminished mobility, and fatigue.
What Causes it?
Scientific studies have shown that about 10% of the general population inherits genes that cause psoriasis, while only two-three percent actually develop the disease. The cause of psoriasis is not known, but researchers believe you must have a combination of these psoriasis-causing genes and be exposed to external triggers. To complicate matters, what causes psoriasis to develop is different from one person to another.
- Bacterial infection, such as strep throat (staphylococcus)
- Medications, including lithium, antimalarials and some types of heart and arthritis medicines
- Skin injury, including bruises, chafing, shaving, tattoos, vaccinations or sunburn
- Skin conditions like scabies, blisters, boils, and dermatitis
- High blood pressure medicines (beta blockers)
- Dry weather, including winter days and indoor heating or air conditioning
- Hormone surges that occur after puberty and during pregnancy
- Smoking and excessive drinking
The Psoriasis Treatment Center of South Florida at Riverchase Dermatology specializes in the treatment of psoriasis, with care for the whole person, and not just the disorder, in mind. While the exact cause of psoriasis has not yet been established, much has been learned about the immune system’s role in the disease. This knowledge has led to the development of targeted therapies' that have revolutionized the treatment of psoriasis.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, your doctor can provide a range of different treatment options which depend on the severity and location of your psoriasis. For those patients with more localized lesions, topical medications and/or phototherapy are often the first choices for therapy. For those patients with more widespread lesions, more suitable treatments, including biologics (injectable medications that focally target the immune system), oral-systemic agents, or ultraviolet phototherapy. Our current treatment options allow us the ability to make nearly all patients clear or nearly clear of their psoriasis.
No blood tests or tools can aid in the diagnosis of psoriasis. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have psoriasis, a Riverchase dermatologist can examine your skin and determine if psoriasis exists so you can begin treatment to lessen the impact that it can have on your health and lifestyle.
The Psoriasis Treatment Center of South Florida is a subsidiary company of