What is skin plaque?

A skin plaque is a type of skin lesion that is characterized by being raised from the skin and wider than it is tall. Skin plaques are associated with a number of disease processes that can also affect the skin and other areas of the body. They are usually first seen by a primary care provider or dermatologist who may run some tests to learn more about what is causing the plaques so treatment approaches can be discussed.

Because they are raised, skin patches can be felt during an exam. The area may feel rough and bumpy or smooth, depending on the underlying process. Plaque is often white or red, and may be crusted or crusted. Sometimes a patch of skin is scaly, with patches of dry skin creating a rough texture and appearance. Plaque can usually also be identified visually, thanks to the contrasting color and raised nature of the lesion.

Psoriasis is a condition commonly associated with plaques, but it can be caused by a wide variety of other disease processes. Sometimes plaque formation is part of a congenital condition, while in other cases, it's a symptom of a new infection. It can also be a sign of skin irritation; Exposure to too much sun, harsh chemicals or allergens can cause skin plaque to develop.

The location of a patch of skin can sometimes provide clues as to why it formed. If someone has plaques on their lower arms, for example, it may suggest that the plaques are the result of allergen exposure, while plaques on the torso may indicate an underlying disease process, since the torso is usually protected from environmental allergens. Other information that may be helpful includes the color of the plaque, the size, whether or not there are multiple plaques, and how quickly the plaques formed.

Treatment for skin plaques varies. Finding the underlying cause is important. By addressing the cause, soothing skin creams can be applied if the skin patch is itchy or rough. These may include moisturizers to lubricate dry skin. If the plaque is associated with a congenital problem, there may be treatments such as soaking in soothing materials, light therapy, etc. that could be used to calm plaques and reduce the frequency of their formation. If the skin plaques are caused by an emerging medical problem, addressing the cause can resolve the plaques and make the patient feel comfortable again.

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