Psoriasis is a chronic disease that is caused by having an overactive immune system and the result of the skin production process moving too quickly. This sped-up process results in inflamed, itchy skin that may be red or scaly in appearance. Psoriasis appears in patches in areas of the skin that are already more difficult to keep moisturized such as your elbows, knees, and scalp. These patches of inflamed, dry skin can last for days or weeks at a time.
Symptoms and signs of psoriasis include:
- Red, inflamed patches of skin
- Dry skin that can crack and bleed
- Soreness around affected area
- White or silvery scales on affected area
- Itching and burning sensation around the affected area
- Inflamed or swollen joints near the affected area
At this time, there is no cure for psoriasis, but symptoms can be managed through a variety of treatment options. These treatments are intended to reduce inflammation, prevent psoriasis flare-ups, and slow the growth of your skin cells. Your treatment plan can fall into one or more of three categories: topical treatments, light therapy, or prescribed medications.
The most common psoriasis treatments are:
- Topical corticosteroids: Topical cream to reduce inflammation and redness.
- Moisturizers: Used to moisturize the affected area to heal and prevent red, dry patches of skin.
- Salicylic acids: Commonly used for acne, the use of salicylic acid helps to soften and remove psoriasis scales.
- UV Light therapy: Form of light therapy involving rays of UV light.
- Sunlight therapy: Form of light therapy involving natural sunlight.
- Methotrexate: An immunosuppressive drug that inhibits the enzyme that grows skin cells.
- Cyclosporine: An immunosuppressive drug that stops the specific immune cells that trigger the production of new skin cells from overworking.
- Retinoids: A systemic medication that treats and prevents psoriasis flare-ups.
Treatments may come with potential side effects. Here at Anchorage Dermatology & Cosmetics, we are dedicated to finding the best treatment plan for you and your lifestyle. While there is no cure for psoriasis, these treatments are ultimately intended to minimize the effects of psoriasis on your skin and life. For more information on psoriasis or to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at (907) 865-8455.