Plaque Psoriasis

The most common type of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis involves inflamed, raised, scaly patches that form on the skin, often causing pain and itching.

The Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology is leading the way in developing safe and more effective therapies for plaque psoriasis. Renowned worldwide for our leading-edge plaque psoriasis research, treatments, and publications, Mount Sinai has pioneered the development of new topical, oral, and biologic therapies. Up to 40 percent of patients with plaque psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. As the only institution in New York State with physicians who are board certified in both rheumatology and dermatology, our Department is in a unique position to be a “one stop shop” for patients with psoriatic disease.

Causes of Plaque Psoriasis

In addition to genetics and/or family history, a number of factors can trigger this condition, including the following:

  • Certain medications  
  • Skin injuries
  • Certain infections
  • Stress

Symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis

The symptoms of plaque psoriasis include raised, scaly patches of inflamed skin can appear anywhere on the body and can cause pain and itching. They most often form on the torso, scalp, elbows, and knee, and they typically develop in the same areas on the right and left side of the body.

In people with lighter skin tones, these plaques look red and are covered with dead skin cells that appear silvery white. In people with dark skin tones, the plaques may look thicker and appear dark gray, purple, or brown.

Treatments for Plaque Psoriasis

Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology is a leader in developing many of the therapies currently in use. We are also conducting clinical trials to advance promising new approaches that will improve treatment in the future, which gives our patients access to emerging new treatments. We have spearheaded the development of topical and oral therapies, and we have been at the forefront of innovating many of today’s most effective biologic therapies.

We draw on the most advanced science and treatments to personalize the safest and most effective plan for each patient. Treatment options include the following:

  • Topicals: These include corticosteroids and non-steroids.
  • Phototherapy (or light therapy): Mount Sinai is home to a full Phototherapy Suite (which is among the world’s largest such units) for the treatment of psoriasis. We also provide skilled excimer laser treatments.
  • Biologics: This targeted therapy blocks the activity of certain proteins in the immune system that play a key role in causing psoriasis.
  • Oral treatments: Used for moderate to severe cases, these prescription medications are designed to reduce inflammation by calming the overactive immune response.