Psoriasis - Treatment and Prescriptions

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition where the immune system attacks healthy skin cells, but it also stimulates the growth of skin cells. It is not contagious, and it can happen in various parts of the body. There are 7 types of psoriasis with plaque psoriasis being the most common type of psoriasis:
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Nail psoriasis
  • Guttate psoriasis
  • Pustular psoriasis
  • Inverse psoriasis
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis
  • Psoriatic arthritis

Photos


Psoriasis on the elbow of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the stomach of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the hand of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the elbow of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the scalp of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the hand and fingers of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the scalp of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin Psoriasis on the arm and stomach of the patient. Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms include flaking, inflammation, and thick, white, silvery, or red patches of skin

Symptoms

The general symptoms of psoriasis include:
  • red, inflamed, scaly skin patches
  • scaly skin
  • dryness and itchiness
The types of psoriasis may be similar, but certain symptoms will differ between the types of psoriasis:
  • Plaque psoriasis – this can happen in any area of the body, scaly, raised, dry, itchy, painful, red skin, but these usually happen on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back
  • Nail psoriasis – small nail pits, ridges, holes in the nail, yellow color, the nail detaching from the nail bed in pieces or completely
  • Guttate psoriasis – raised, small red, scaly spots instead of patches
  • Pustular psoriasis – white bumps filled with pus surrounded by red blotches
  • Inverse psoriasis – mainly appears around the groin, under the breasts, armpits, and genitals, as a smooth, red patches of inflamed skin
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – severe redness, itching, pain, and scaling over a large area, lowered body temperature, fever, faster heartbeat
  • Psoriatic arthritis – red, scaly patches, painful and swollen joints, ligaments, and tendons

Causes

There might be 7 types of psoriasis, but they all start similarly. Your body’s immune system starts to attack healthy cells because of a trigger which causes inflammation and hyperactive skin growth. The hyperactive growth builds up into scaly patches. The cause of immune system malfunction hasn’t been discovered yet, but genetics are likely to play a role in the overreaction of the immune system while environmental factors trigger psoriasis. Although, people with psoriasis may have different triggers. Some of these triggers include:
  • infection
  • injury
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • stress
  • certain drugs
  • dry weather
However, different kinds of psoriasis have small differences in the way they’re caused:
  • Plaque psoriasis – this base form of psoriasis is the starting point of many different types, and it is simply the inflammation and hyperactive cell growth causing the general symptoms of psoriasis
  • Nail psoriasis – psoriasis changes the properties underneath the nail and causes the nail to detach from the nail bed. The gap can become painful, white, or infected causing a yellow discoloration. Cells are lost because of psoriasis and it creates pits in the nail. It also weakens the structure of nails to cause deep indentations in the nail called Beau’s Lines.
  • Guttate psoriasis – streptococcal infection or viral infections cause an outbreak throughout the body in the form of spots
  • Pustular psoriasis – psoriasis creates the red, inflamed patches, then pustules are formed due to specific triggers like certain drugs, sunlight, stress, infections, and pregnancy
  • Inverse psoriasis – sweating and folds like in armpits, folds of skin, genital areas, or under breasts create dampness and friction which are triggers for psoriasis
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis – it isn’t yet understood why this type of psoriasis develops, but it is a severe type of psoriasis that destabilizes many aspects of bodily function
  • Psoriatic arthritis – inflammation and hyperactive growth from psoriasis spreads to the joints and to where tendons and ligaments meet the bone which causes joint pain and swelling

Treatment

Psoriasis doesn’t have a cure yet, but flares can be controlled and prevented. Therefore, long-term treatments options focus on reducing inflammation, itching, scaling, dryness, and skin growth with psoriasis medications.

Home Remedies

While home remedies have taken on popularity, there are little to no studies confirming the effectiveness of such treatments. In some cases, it might even do more harm than good considering their minimal effectiveness versus the unknown side effects they could have on your body. It’s best to follow the medical advice of a dermatologist because they know what will or will not treat the disease. Here are some popular home remedies that you should be careful with:
  • Dietary supplements
  • Preventing dry skin
  • Sun Exposure
  • Apple cider vinegar

Over the Counter Medication

While some over the counter (OTC) medications are effective enough to be given as prescriptions, other OTC medications have limited effects on disease. They might help for mild to moderate cases, but they aren’t usually effective on severe ones. If used incorrectly and without guidance, they might even prove to be ineffective and produce unforeseen side effects. However, a dermatologist can tell you whether or not these can be effective for you. Here are some OTC medications that may or may not be included in a treatment plan given by one of our dermatologists:
  • Salicylic Acid – removes scaling and reduces swelling
  • Coal Tar – reduces itching, flaking, redness, swelling, scaling, and hyperactive growth
  • Moisturizers – relieves dryness and helps skin heal
  • Corticosteroids – relieves itching and skin inflammation
  • Anti-itch – reduces the discomfort from itching, but it can also irritate or dry your skin

Prescription

Prescriptions, alongside professional medical advice, are the most effective form of treatment. Home remedies and over the counter treatments take plenty of time, energy, and money, yet are uncertain to work. Our experienced dermatologists take your unique skin, set of symptoms, and medical history into account to take the guessing game out of your road to recovery. Here are some prescriptions your dermatologist might include in your personalized treatment plan:
  • Corticosteroids – relieves itching and skin inflammation
  • Salicylic Acid – removes scaling and reduces swelling
  • Vitamin D – counteracts hyperactive skin growth by slowing it down
  • Anthralin – counteracts hyperactive skin growth by slowing it down and removes scales
  • Retinoids – reduces inflammation
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors – reduces inflammation and plaque
  • Cyclosporine – suppresses immune system
  • Methotrexate – suppresses immune system and counteracts hyperactive skin growth by slowing it down
  • Biologics – suppresses the action of T cells in the immune system for moderate to severe psoriasis
  • Moisturizers – relieves dryness and helps skin heal

Post Treatment Prevention

After being seen by one of our SkyMD dermatologists, you’ve been equipped with the treatment plan and prescription(s) to treat your discomfort. However, disease can be persistent, so you have to be too. A skin care routine and a set of disease-preventing habits recommended by our dermatologists are essential for long term prevention. Here are some popular prevention strategies that could supplement your personalized treatment plan:
  • Avoid psoriasis triggers
  • Moisturize often
  • Avoid cold, dry weather
  • Reduce stress

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