Interview transcription:

We interviewed Penelope Pratsou to learn about the skin condition psoriasis and its causes.

What is psoriasis and what causes it?

Penelope Pratsou: Psoriasis is a type of chronic skin inflammation, but it tends to come on really in patients in their forties, fifties and beyond. It can come on earlier, but that’s where we tend to see it most.

It might affect you with quite red, very scaly or silvery patches and plaques on the outer aspects of your arms or your legs, so the elbows and knees. It could be on the scalp; it could be on other parts of the torso and the body. It could even affect the nails and sometimes cause achy joints. It can be a condition that affects more than just the skin.

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Penelope Pratsou: Now in terms of why you get it, several factors can result in psoriasis. It can run in families, so we often see a family history in someone who newly presents with psoriasis. We know that in people with psoriasis, the skin will essentially regenerate.

The top layer of the skin, which is the epidermis, tends to regenerate every few weeks but in people with psoriasis, it regenerates every few days. That’s why you get that thick, silvery scale. In addition to that, there are a number of environmental factors that can be involved, but those are tricky to control.

If you notice that you have any of the symptoms or conditions that we’ve just discussed, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr Penelope Pratsou. She’ll be able to assess your situation and give you a personalised treatment plan.

About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

Learn more about me