Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that mainly affects the skin and it is manifested by redness surmounted by scales (psoriasis plaques). It is an exaggerated signal of defense of the immune system that causes an increase in the proliferation of growth of the skin cells that begin to produce scales.


Psoriasis affects both women and men. Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of Dermatology at Humanitas, a guest in Buongiorno Benessere at Rai Uno, spoke about psoriasis.


“There are different forms of psoriasis. The plate form is the most frequent, but there are also others that are more difficult to diagnose, such as the erythrodermal form, the pustule form, the gutted form and the arthropathic form, which affects the joints. Then there is psoriatic onychopathy, in which psoriasis affects only the nails.


Psoriasis affects not only the skin, but also other organs: it is a systemic autoimmune disease,” explained the specialist.


What are the causes of psoriasis?

Psoriasis recognizes a genetic predisposition, which is flanked by environmental factors: “One thinks that 90% of patients report a stressful event after which the first patches appeared. Nervous stress therefore has a direct influence on the triggering of the disease. Then there are factors such as smoking, obesity and the presence of other diseases that can contribute to the severity and progression of psoriasis,” says Professor Costanzo.


Is sun exposure good or bad?

“The sun is a skin immunosuppressant, so it’s good for patients with psoriasis because it extinguishes inflammation. However, we must not exaggerate, protect ourselves with special products and avoid sunburn that damages the cells more deeply”.


Treatments for psoriasis

For the treatment of psoriasis, topical drugs are available for the mild forms (creams, gels, ointments), phototherapy, and systemic drugs for the moderate and severe forms. There are conventional systemic drugs, namely immunosuppressants or modulators of cell proliferation and so-called biological drugs that selectively affect molecules that induce skin cell proliferation and inflammation.


Watch the interview with Professor Costanzo from minute 29.28, click here