Psoriasis Treatment in Sarasota
Psoriasis is a common, chronic skin condition. The result of a rapid buildup of skin cells, psoriasis causes red, raised, dry and cracked scaly patches, and even blisters, to form on the skin. In some cases, psoriasis affects the fingernails, causing yellowing and small depressions. Psoriasis can be mild, moderate or severe, and, in most cases, causes itching and burning in affected areas or skin.
Psoriasis is the result of an autoimmune disorder, in which skin cells replace themselves every 3 to 4 days, rather than the usual 30, creating a buildup of cells on the skin’s surface, and causing symptoms to appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals. Although there is no cure, there are several treatments available to effectively relieve symptoms. In the United States, more than seven million men, women and children have psoriasis.
Causes of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is caused by an immune-system disorder involving a type of white blood cell called a “T lymphocyte” (T cell). Although T cells usually travel through the body to fight off viruses and other foreign substances, in patients with psoriasis, they attack healthy skin cells. This causes an increased production of healthy skin cells, which then build up on the surface of the skin, causing scaling and patches. The symptoms of psoriasis can worsen as a result of certain triggers, including the following:
- Injury to the skin
- Alcohol consumption
Certain medications are also triggers for psoriasis.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on each patient, but often include the following:
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
- Dry, cracked skin
- Itching or burning
- Thickened nails
For many people who have it, psoriasis is merely a cosmetic issue. In some cases, however, it causes severe pain, especially when associated with arthritis. The symptoms of psoriasis usually come and go; it is a cyclic disorder, with remissions and flareups occurring throughout a patient’s life.
Types of Psoriasis
There are seven different types of psoriasis, each causing different symptoms. Some types are more common than others. Although patients usually have only one type of psoriasis at any given time, another type can appear once the first has cleared.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type; it affects about 80 percent of psoriasis patients. It causes raised red lesions that are covered with silvery white scales, and usually appears on the elbows, knees, scalp and back.
Guttate psoriasis usually begins during childhood or early adulthood. It causes small red spots to appear on the skin of the torso, arms and legs, and is associated with bacterial infections such as strep throat.
Inverse psoriasis develops in the armpits or groin, under the breasts, or in other folds of skin. It manifests itself as bright-red lesions that can become irritated from sweat and friction. It is most common in overweight patients.
Pustular psoriasis causes white, pus-filled blisters that are surrounded by red areas of skin. It is often triggered by medication, ultraviolet light, pregnancy or infection, and is most common in adults.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common type of psoriasis. It often causes redness and scaling on the whole body, and can lead to serious illness if left untreated.
Nail psoriasis affects the nails, causing them to thicken and yellow, and develop small pits in the nail bed. Patients with nail psoriasis are likely to also have a fungal infection.
Psoriatic arthritis is a combination of psoriasis and arthritis. It can cause swelling, pain and discoloration of the joints, in addition to the skin-related symptoms of psoriasis.
Treatment of Psoriasis
Treatment for psoriasis focuses on clearing the skin of current symptoms. Treatments for the root cause of of psoriasis are intended to interrupt the abnormal cycle that has caused an increased production of skin cells. This can be achieved through topical treatment, oral medication, light therapies or a combination of the three.
Topical treatment for psoriasis usually includes the use of of corticosteroids, vitamin D or topical retinoids. These topical medications target inflammation, skin-cell growth and DNA activity to effectively treat the symptoms of mild-to-moderate psoriasis.
Oral medications may be prescribed for severe cases of psoriasis, or those that are unresponsive to other types of treatment. Prescription oral medications include retinoids, methotrexate or cyclosporine.
Patients with psoriasis can help relieve symptoms by keeping the skin clean and moisturized, covering the affected areas while sleeping, and avoiding catalysts such as stress, smoking and alcohol. By adhering to a doctor’s treatment plan and following the recommended home remedies, effective relief from psoriasis is possible.
Is Psoriasis Genetic?
Your genes play a role in the color of your hair and eyes, the shape of your body, and the conditions to which you may be prone to developing in your lifetime. In most cases, genetic makeup is one of several factors that contribute to conditions like psoriasis. This can be good news because it can help you determine ways in which you might reduce your risk of developing this autoimmune condition or experiencing more severe symptoms. In addition to genes, psoriasis may develop or worsen due to pollution exposure, diet, and stress.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
No. Psoriasis affects your skin but it does not originate there. It is caused by an overreaction in your immune system rather than an environmental factor like bacteria or fungi, so cannot be spread to others.
Is Psoriasis Curable?
As an autoimmune condition, psoriasis is not considered curable. Your doctor will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan to help you manage the frequency and severity of flare-ups. With proper management, your psoriasis symptoms can be much easier to control over your lifetime.
How Do I Know which Psoriasis Treatment is Right for Me?
Psoriasis is a condition that requires ongoing management that involves multiple approaches. The most common methods of addressing this condition include topical and oral medications. Your doctor may prescribe one or both, depending on your case. Additionally, you will discover ways to reduce the frequency and severity of itchy, painful flare-ups through diet and lifestyle. The best way to know where to start in addressing your psoriasis is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist today!
How Long Will it Take Before I Start to See Results from Psoriasis Treatment?
You may begin to see and feel improvements within a week or two of beginning your psoriasis treatment. That said, most studies suggest that it is necessary to use a new medication consistently for 12 weeks to allow it to reach its full effect.
Why Should I Choose SkinSmart Dermatology to Help Me with My Psoriasis Treatment?
A dermatologist is a physician who has specialized in the many conditions that affect the skin. The doctors at SkinSmart Dermatology are dermatologic surgeons. This means that they have each received advanced training beyond the foundational dermatology residency. In addition to training and experience, though, our entire team also believes in putting each patient at the center of treatment planning. When you choose SkinSmart Dermatology for your psoriasis treatment, you can expect to be treated with the utmost care, beginning with a listening ear and continuing on with clear communication about your condition and your treatment options. We're here to help you feel your best!
Schedule Your Appointment Today
If you are experiencing psorasis and are seeking treatment, visit Sarasota Dermatology. Our providers, including Dr. Elizabeth Callahan, are experienced in psorasis treatment and have been serving the Sarasota community for over 15 years. At SkinSmart Dermatology, we treat a wide variety of skin problems and care for every individual patient with a personal touch. Schedule an appointment by calling 941.308.7546 or fill out the form on our contact page.