Treatment can improve the quality of life for people who have this common disorder.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by thick, raised red patches that are often covered with flaking, silvery scales. Although rarely life-threatening, it can dramatically affect a person's life. In his essay "At War with My Skin," the novelist John Updike, who developed psoriasis as a child, attributed his career choice to the isolating effects of the disease: "Because of my skin," he wrote, "I counted myself out of any of those jobs…that demand being presentable. What did that leave? Becoming a craftsman of some kind, closeted and unseen — perhaps a cartoonist or a writer, a worker in ink who can hide himself and send out a surrogate presence…"
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.