What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes the immune system to overproduce skin cells up to 10 times faster than normal. Many home drugs may help alleviate symptoms.
Psoriasis is frequently referred to as a “T-cell mediated disease.” T-cells are intended to fight infection and prevent abnormal cell growth in the body. In psoriasis, these cells inhabit the skin causing a disruption in normal skin cell growth and maturation. The result is red plaques with silvery scale most commonly located on the elbows, knees, and scalp, but can develop anywhere on the body. Often itching is associated with active skin lesions.
Methods to Diagnose Psoriasis:
Psoriasis is usually fairly easy to diagnose.
Clinical examination and history taking:
A review of your medical history and a visual examination of skin and nails is usually adequate to establish a diagnosis of psoriasis.
Biopsy of the Skin:
The removal of a small piece of skin (biopsy) is rarely required to diagnose psoriasis. This is done under local anesthesia, so is virtually painless. The tissue is analyzed under a microscope to look for features of psoriasis and exclude other skin conditions.
Treatment of Psoriasis:
Psoriasis is not curable, but can be controlled by using the correct personal care products and prescription treatments.
Psoriasis can be managed by using home therapies alone or in conjunction with medical treatment. However, certain home remedies can interfere with medications, so always consult your physician.
When a person suffers from psoriasis, exposure to sunlight can improve the appearance of the skin. This should be done slowly and for short periods. Sunscreen and clothes must be used to protect healthy skin and maintain sun exposure only in the affected areas. If your skin tolerates it, you can increase the sun exposure gradually by 30 seconds every day.
Before attempting sun exposure, always consult your physician first. This is especially important with a history of skin cancer.
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements can decrease inflammation and boost skin hydration.
Capsaicin and Probiotics:
Capsaicin is a component of red peppers, and the capacity to reduce inflammation has been shown with use. While bacteria present in yogurt and fermented food are beneficial probiotics.
Users can also consume them in additional products. Bacteria in the body can enable the immune system to achieve the correct balance. Psoriasis is an immune disorder, which is likely why probiotics may help in alleviating its symptoms.
When it comes to medication, it is important to understand all options. Continue to work with your doctor to find the best plan for treating your symptoms or to reduce them. Medical treatment of psoriasis may consist of the following treatments:
Light therapy (phototherapy) involves exposing the skin regularly to controlled and therapeutic wavelengths ultraviolet light. Phototherapy is done with a device in the doctor’s office or at home. This therapy includes:
PUVA (psoralen medication and ultraviolet A or UVA) – This treatment is one of the most expensive. It involves the oral or topical administration of a light sensitizing medication just prior to exposing the skin to light. This type of treatment is much less common today because of the risk of developing skin cancer.
Narrowband UVB phototherapy (nUVB) – This medication may be administered by some physicians alone with a lightbox or with other treatments including black tar.
Topical medications are rubbed into the skin to reduce inflammation and minimize scale.
Psoriasis topical treatments include:
Salicylic acid – Many clinicians prescribe salicylic acid, which smoothes the skin and reduces scale. Nevertheless, using salicylic acid on large areas of the skin may cause the body to absorb too much of the medication. This can lead to unwanted side effects. Salicylic acid may also cause skin irritation and a weakening of hair shafts.
Steroid Based Creams– These creams help treat psoriasis at its core by reducing inflammation and itching, and by blocking the overproduction of skin cells. Some side effects may include lightening or thinning of the skin.
Ointments and Shampoos with Coal Tar – Such drugs will rapidly slow skin cell development and help relieve symptoms. However, some people are vulnerable to side effects like folliculitis, a hair follicle pimple-like rash. Such medications should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.
Systemic therapies are prescription medications that are taken orally or injected. Systemics are usually recommended for moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Normally, biological medications or biologics are prescribed for patients who have not responded to other treatments. They are administered via injection underneath the skin.
There is no one solution to keep psoriasis symptoms in check. Everyone and every situation is different. What works for you, may not work for someone else.
Some treatment options may have negative side effects depending on other pre-existing conditions. Consult your doctor if you are seeking dietary supplements or other alternative therapies to relieve psoriasis symptoms.
At Skin Specialists, we can help you assess the advantages and disadvantages of different alternative treatments.