Psoriasis is a skin condition that appears as thick scaly skin. The skin may be itchy, dry, red and, in some cases, painful. Some patients may consider the condition only a mild nuisance, while others may find it debilitating. Treatments are available that may be effective in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life, although no cure exists for psoriasis.

Psoriasis and T-Cells

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but T-cells (cells that fight bacteria and viruses) in patients with psoriasis attack healthy skin cells. New skin cells move to the surface of the skin too quickly and dead skin cells are not shed quickly enough, resulting in a buildup on the skin's surface in the form of plaques. Treatment may be helpful in interrupting this process, however. It is not clear what makes T-cells perform in this way, although some believe that genetics and environmental factors may play a role.

Environmental Triggers

Some environmental factors, lifestyle choices and other factors may trigger psoriasis. These may include strep throat, thrush, stress, smoking, cold weather, heavy drinking, sunburn, cuts or scrapes and medications like lithium, beta blockers, antimalarial drugs and iodides. For more information about psoriasis and the role T-cells play in the condition, consult a licensed physician or skincare professional.