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Psoriasis (suh-RIE-uh-sis) is the rapid buildup of rough, scaly skin that occurs when the life cycle of skin cells rapidly increases. The accumulation of dead skin cells results in thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, inflamed patches that are sometimes painful.

The condition tends to flare up periodically and then subside for a time before returning again.

For some people, psoriasis is a mild nuisance. For others, it can be severely disabling, affecting extensive areas of skin for long periods and often occurring with a distinct type of arthritis — (psoriatic arthritis). Topical medications and light therapy may help reduce signs and symptoms of the skin lesions.