What is psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease in which the immune system works too much, causing patches of skin to become scaly and inflamed. Most often, psoriasis affects the: Scalp. Elbows. Knees. The symptoms of psoriasis can sometimes go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months followed by times when they subside (or go into remission). If you have psoriasis, you may have a higher risk of getting other serious conditions, including: Psoriatic arthritis. Heart attack or stroke. Mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.