If you’re looking at your skin and you notice that it’s inflamed and scaly, you COULD potentially have psoriasis.
But there’s good news, psoriasis is treatable!
And if you think you do in fact have psoriasis, it’s best to consult with your doctor and have them prescribe a treatment, as one the of the worst things you can do is actually do nothing and hope it goes away on its own.
So, what is psoriasis?
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD says:
“Psoriasis is a condition in which the immune system gets angry at the skin, leading to red, scaly plaques.”
Psoriasis is typically seen on the elbows and knees, but can honestly appear anywhere from the scalp to even your genitals.
Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and a clinical instructor at the University of Southern California notes:
“This is a genetic, autoimmune, inflammatory condition in which your skin cells divide too quickly and do not shed quickly enough.”
And that’s what actually creates the inflamed, scaly plaques you’re seeing on your skin.
Dr. Shainhouse also notes that psoriasis is often associated with:
- psoriatic arthritis
- metabolic syndrome
- elevated triglycerides
- increased risk for heart disease
- and obesity
What does psoriasis look like?
A main symptom of psoriasis is scaly plaques that can either be pink, white, or even silvery.
Sometimes these plaques can unfortunately itch, crack, or even bleed.
There are also different subtypes of psoriasis:
- Inverse Psoriasis – Appears in the underarms and groin.
- Palmo-plantar Psoriasis – Causes itchy and/or painful peeling, pustules on the palms and soles.
- Guttate Psoriasis – A sudden eruption of small pink, scaly spots, usually after exposure to Strep throat
How do you treat psoriasis?
After you have been diagnosed by your doctor, you should discuss treatment plans.
According to Dr. Zeichner, your treatment all depends on what kind of psoriasis you have and how mild or severe your case is:
“Mild cases of psoriasis may be treated with topicals anti-inflammatories including cortisones and Vitamin D creams.”
Dr. Zeichner also notes that severe cases may require pills or shots in order to keep the inflammation calm.
And if you suffer from scalp psoriasis, Dr. Zeichner suggests using over-the-counter tar shampoos, such as Neutrogena T-Gel, to relieve dandruff and itching.
And before you opt for an over-the-counter exfoliating product to remove any dead, scaly, skin, Dr. Shainhouse recommends consulting your doctor first.
“Exfoliating moisturizers can help to remove some of the thick scale, but this condition requires management by your dermatologist.”
Also, phototherapy could also an amazing option.
Ever hear of it?
Phototherapy: the use of specific wavelengths of light that have been shown to be very effective in the treatment of psoriasis. This light occurs naturally as a component of sunlight and is called ultraviolet light.
And while UV light isn’t typically recommended in dermatology, since it can associated with the development of skin cancer and melanoma, phototherapy has an anti-inflammatory effect in psoriatic skin, allowing it to calm the skin.
It’s also recommended to try an maintain a healthy body weight while also avoiding drugs and alcohol, as obesity and substance abuse it also known to exacerbate psoriasis.
What you should NOT do:
- Rubbing and picking – it will actually worsen the spots
Psoriasis has a tendency to develop on sites where skin trauma has occurred, which includes cuts and scratches.
This is called the Koebner phenomenon.
For more information, visit: www.psoriasis.org.