What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that is characterized by reoccurring flare-ups associated with a rheumatic disease. The “flare-ups” or inflammation is caused by an increased rate of cell turnover. Normal skin cells turn over at a rate of every 24 days, in patients with psoriasis, this happens ten times faster which causes inflammation. This, therefore, results in redness, thickening of the skin and dry flakiness.
Much like rosacea, there is no cure for psoriasis but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. Topical creams such as prescription level cortisone and soothing oatmeal baths can help soothe the skin to keep it calmer. Depending on the severity of the condition, oral immunosuppressive therapies may be recommended as well.
Possible Treatment Options
Topical Corticosteroids– These drugs are the most commonly prescribed for treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. They work by reducing inflammation and itching, and can be used on sensitive areas of skin. Topical corticosteroids should only be used for a short time, as overuse can cause thinning of the skin.
Vitamin D Analogues– These are synthetic forms of vitamin D that slow down skin cell growth. Most commonly available in a prescription cream called Calcipotriene (Dovonex), it treats mild to moderate psoriasis.
Light Therapy– Light therapy, or phototherapy, uses natural or artificial UV light to treat skin conditions. Common forms for treating psoriasis include UVB phototherapy, narrow band UVB phototherapy, and Psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA). These lights penetrate the skin, reducing scaling and inflammation.
Retinoids– Retinoids can be used to treat severe psoriasis that hasn’t responded to other therapies. These treatments should not be used in those who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.
Methotrexate– This oral medication helps to reduce the production of skin cells and suppressed inflammation. It is generally well-tolerated in low doses, but should not be used for long periods of time.
Biologics– These drugs work by altering the immune system, and are approved to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. Usually, these drugs are given by injection in those who have failed to respond to traditional therapy.
Overall, the type of treatment used will be determined during your consultation with Dr. Diggs. If you are living with psoriasis and are interested in learning about your possible treatment options, contact our office today. We would be happy to schedule your initial consultation.