psoriasis on the elbows

What to know about psoriasis on the elbows

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that affects more than 125 million people worldwide. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, but it commonly affects areas like the scalp, knees, and elbows. In this guide, we will focus on psoriasis on the elbows, including what it is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

What is psoriasis on the elbows?

Psoriasis on the elbows is a skin condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. This attack causes the skin cells to multiply rapidly, which leads to the formation of thick, scaly patches on the elbows. Psoriasis on the elbows can range from mild to severe and can cause discomfort, pain, and itching.

What causes psoriasis on the elbows?

The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In people with psoriasis, the immune system attacks healthy skin cells, causing inflammation and an overproduction of new skin cells. This process leads to the formation of psoriasis patches.

Certain triggers can also worsen psoriasis on the elbows, including:

Stress: Stress can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms. Stress-relieving activities like exercise and meditation may help reduce symptoms.

Infections: Infections like strep throat and skin infections can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms.

Skin injuries: Injuries to the skin, including cuts, scrapes, and burns, can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms.

Medications: Certain medications like lithium, beta-blockers, and antimalarials can trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis on the elbows?

The symptoms of psoriasis on the elbows can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

Thick, scaly patches of skin on the elbows

Redness and inflammation

Itching and burning

Dry, cracked skin

Pain and discomfort

Bleeding or oozing

How is psoriasis on the elbows diagnosed?

A dermatologist can diagnose psoriasis on the elbows through a physical exam of the affected skin. The dermatologist may also ask about your medical history and any family history of psoriasis.

In some cases, a skin biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. During a skin biopsy, a small sample of skin is removed and examined under a microscope to confirm the presence of psoriasis.

How is psoriasis on the elbows treated?

There is no cure for psoriasis, but several treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. The treatment options for psoriasis on the elbows depend on the severity of symptoms and may include:

Topical medications: Topical medications like corticosteroids, retinoids, and vitamin D analogs can help reduce inflammation and slow down the growth of skin cells. These medications are applied directly to the affected skin and are often the first-line treatment for mild to moderate psoriasis on the elbows.

Phototherapy: Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light to slow down the growth of skin cells. Phototherapy can be an effective treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis on the elbows, but it requires regular visits to a dermatologist.

Systemic medications: Systemic medications like methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biologics are taken orally or by injection and work throughout the body to reduce inflammation and slow down the growth of skin cells. These medications are often reserved for people with severe psoriasis on the elbows who have not responded to other treatments.

Alternative therapies: Alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and herbal remedies may help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Ieva Kubiliute

Ieva Kubiliute is a psychologist and a sex and relationships advisor and a freelance writer. She's also a consultant to several health and wellness brands. While Ieva specialises in covering wellness topics ranging from fitness and nutrition, to mental wellbeing, sex and relationships and health conditions, she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain and joining an £18k-a-year London gym. Someone’s got to do it! When she’s not typing away at her desk—or interviewing experts and case studies, Ieva winds down with yoga, a good movie and great skincare (affordable of course, there’s little she doesn’t know about budget beauty). Things that bring her endless joy: digital detoxes, oat milk lattes and long country walks (and sometimes jogs).

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