Psoriasis

Treatment

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects about 2-3% of the population, which equates to millions of people worldwide. This condition causes skin cells to replicate more rapidly than normal and leads to buildup of skin cells, with development of thick, red, and scaly patches on the skin's surface. Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, but is most common on the scalp, elbows, knees, and buttock. It is not contagious and rarely gets infected. While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, various treatment options are available to manage the symptoms effectively and improve the quality of life for those affected.

The most common signs of psoriasis include red, inflamed patches or plaques of skin with thick, silvery scales. Sometimes these areas may bleed. Not all psoriasis lesions have symptoms, but they can sometimes cause itching, burning, or discomfort in affected areas. The nails can also have changes due to the inflammation of psoriasis) and, in some cases, joints can have stiffness, swelling, and pain (psoriatic arthritis).

Psoriasis occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets the bodies own skin cells, causing an more rapid skin cell growth cycle. While the exact cause is unknown, several factors can contribute to the development of psoriasis, including genetic predisposition (it is common to see psoriasis run in families), immune system dysfunction, and environmental factors (infections, stress, skin injury, and certain medications can cause flares).

Diagnosing psoriasis typically involves a physical examination by a dermatologist. The doctor will carefully assess your skin's appearance, medical history, and family medical history to make a diagnosis. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Thankfully, there are multiple treatment options available to help control psoriasis and its symptoms. Treatments should help alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and slow down skin cell growth. Prescription medications include topical creams or ointments (corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs, retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, or other anti-inflammatory agents). Phototherapy, typically narrowband UVB therapy, can help control psoriasis when given under professional supervision. There are multiple systemic medications (pills and injections) that target different aspects of the immune system that are approved for moderate to severe psoriasis or difficult to control psoriasis.

Non-prescription treatments can also help, such as moisturizing regularly, using gentle, fragrance-free soaps, avoiding harsh chemicals, taking warm baths with added moisturizers and even having natural sunlight therapy (heliotherapy) if directed by your physician.

While there are good treatment options for psoriasis, there is no cure and treatments typically require consistent use and ongoing management to minimize flare-ups and maintain healthy skin. It can also be helpful to manage stress, protect your skin from trauma and injury, avoid triggers such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain medications, and maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Unfortunately, psoriasis cannot be prevented as it has genetic and immune system components. However, you can take steps to manage and reduce its impact on your life by following the strategies mentioned above.

Psoriasis Overview

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Enter patient information and medical history as well as answer questions relating to your symptoms. This should only take about five or ten minutes.

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Our providers will review your visit

Our board-certified medical providers will create a custom treatment plan based on your condition and medical history. You can follow your treatment status with our consultation tracker any time after your visit has been submitted, this is located in your patient dashboard.

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Get Rx delivered to your pharmacy or doorstep

Pick up your prescription at your pharmacy of choice within 1-2 hours.  After you receive your treatment plan, connect with your pharmacy to see when they will have your Rx fulfilled. For some medications we offer home delivery options for your convenience.

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FAQ

A board-certified Dermatologist is a medical doctor (MD or DO) that has completed 4 years of medical school as well as 1 year of internship and a minimum of 3 years of dermatology residency. They are the experts in over 3,000 conditions affecting hair, skin, and nails. They can see patients of all ages and are able to address medical, surgical, and cosmetic concerns.

Most people see a Dermatologist once yearly for an overall skin check. If there is a personal or family history of skin cancers, abnormal moles, or other conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis, the frequency of visits can be increased.

Dermatologists recommend performing a once-monthly self-skin examination to check for new or changing spots. You should examine all aspects of your skin, using mirrors or a partner as needed. Do not forget to try to examine your scalp, look between fingers and toes, check the bottoms of your feet, and examine the groin area. Please have any new or changing lesions examined by a Dermatologist to determine if any treatments are needed.

UV damage is the biggest skin aging culprit. Daily sun protection measures (even in the winter) is the best preventative step. Avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, other drugs, staying hydrated, and eating a well-balanced diet can all have positive anti-aging effects as well.

Topical vitamin A products (retinols, retinoids) are the overall most effective topicals for addressing skin aging concerns such as loss of elasticity, fine lines, skin texture changes, and dyspigmentation. There are various over-the-counter products and prescription products that contain these active ingredients. People with very sensitive skin can sometimes have a more difficult time tolerating these topicals as they can be irritating to the skin.

The inflammation caused by psoriasis can affect other aspects of health, not just skin and joints. Commonly associated health conditions include: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety.

While we have no “cure” for psoriasis, we have many available treatment options and, for many patients, we can achieve clear or nearly clear skin if treatments are continued.Our goals are to make it appear as if you do not have psoriasis.

Treatments for psoriasis vary from topical treatments with topical steroids, non-steroid anti-inflammatories, and vitamin D products, to oral medications that control inflammation and injectable medications. Therapies such as steroid injections into skin lesions and phototherapy (light therapy) can be used to treat psoriasis. Commonly, a combination of treatments may be needed to get adequate response, it is best to discuss treatment options with a board-certified dermatologist to determine what is best for you.

Psoriasis does have a genetic component. In the general population, psoriasis is present in about 2-3% of the population worldwide. There are variations in rate of psoriasis based on ethnicity. If a child has 1 parent with a history of psoriasis, they have about a 10% chance of developing psoriasis. If both parents have psoriasis, there is about a 50% chance of a child developing psoriasis. There are different gene variations that can significantly increase risk for psoriasis.

The extensor surfaces of the skin are most commonly involved with psoriasis. This includes the elbows and knees. Other areas that are commonly involved include the scalp, belly button, lower back/upper gluteal cleft, knuckles, genitals, and nails. Psoriasis can develop anywhere on the skin and can look different depending on the areas of skin that are involved. Not all psoriasis looks like red, scaly plaques.

frequently asked questions