You are about to leave an AbbVie Canada site, a Web site maintained by AbbVie Corporation.

This link is provided for your convenience only. AbbVie Corporation takes no responsibility for the content of any Web site maintained by any third party and makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this or any subsequent link.

Do you wish to leave this site?

Yes No

You are here

What are the effects of Psoriasis?

What are the effects of Psoriasis?


Inflammation is a natural process that your body normally uses to protect itself from harm. Inflammation is behind the pain and swelling you feel from:

  • Bumping your knee
  • An infection in your throat
  • Burning your hand while cooking
  • A sunburn
  • A paper cut
  • Etc. 

When a portion of skin is affected, it becomes red, swollen and painful, and feels hot or warm to the touch: this is called inflammation.

A normal skin cell takes 28 to 30 days to form at the bottom layer of your skin, then makes its way to the surface, falling off without you noticing. When your immune system malfunctions and produces inflammation in an area of your skin, it only takes three to four days for the skin cells to mature and reach the surface. The skin cells don’t have time to fall off, and build up with other skin cells instead, creating inflamed skin scales and skin plaques.

The severity of psoriasis is measured by the percentage of body surface affected (BSA). Your palm is usually the reference point to represent 1% of the total body surface.
Mild psoriasis: less than 3% BSA
Moderate psoriasis: 3 to 10% BSA
Severe psoriasis: more than 10% BSA

Another aspect that can be measured is how psoriasis affects your quality of life. For example, even a mild case affecting only a small area in the palms or soles of the feet can have a significant impact on your life. Take this questionnaire to assess how psoriasis affects your quality of life and talk to your doctor.

Psoriasis symptoms tend to change over time, appearing differently in each person. People with psoriasis often suffer from a cycle of periods of active disease — flares — followed by periods when symptoms disappear, called remissions. The triggers, which can set off psoriasis in the first place, often worsen symptoms or cause a flare after a period of remission.

If inflammation from psoriasis is left untreated, it can eventually lead to thickened skin, scarring, disfigurement and bacterial skin infections caused by scratching and touching plaques. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat psoriasis and prevent complications before they happen.