Psoriasis is common and prevalent in the US with over 7 million people including children suffering from this condition. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that results in redness, dry, raised, and cracked scaly patches on the skin due to a rapid buildup of skin cells.
Psoriasis most commonly is observed on the hands, elbows, knees, feet, scalp, and around the belly button and genitals. The symptoms for psoriasis differ from one person to another, but typically include:
- Red patches
- Cracked skin
- Pain or soreness
- Itching or burning skin
- Thickened nails
Initially, psoriasis was thought to be a cosmetic condition, however, research studies show that it is more than just a surface condition. It can result in systemic inflammatory effects that can affect the cardiovascular system, joints, and other organs.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system that can be caused either by environmental or genetic factors. It affects the T cells or the T lymphocyte white blood cells that protect the body from viruses and foreign particles. When a person gets psoriasis, their T cells begin to attack the healthy skin cells resulting in an over-production of new cells. These extra skin cells build up on the surface of the skin in the form of patches or scaling.
The symptoms of psoriasis are in cycles of flareups and remissions. A psoriasis flareup can be triggered by injuries on the skin, infections, smoking or use of alcohol, stress, and intake of certain steroids or medication.
How Is Psoriasis Treated?
Psoriasis is a chronic disease but it can be controlled in most cases by seeking proper treatment from a dermatologist. This treatment is focused on clearing symptoms and breaking the cycle of abnormal skin cell production. The common treatment plans include:
Topical Treatments: This involves applying ointments like corticosteroid, or topical retinoids that will target the inflammation and skin cell growth.
Light Therapy: This process involves exposing the patient to natural sunlight to help slow down the production of skin cells.
Oral Medication: If the psoriasis is severe, dermatologists may prescribe medications such as methotrexate, retinoids, or cyclosporine.
Biological Injections: This treatment involves administering an injection that will specifically target psoriasis causing T cells.
Types of Psoriasis
There are 7 types of psoriasis each with a different symptom:
Plaque Psoriasis: This is the most common type where the patient has raised red lesions covered in silver-white scales.
Guttate Psoriasis: This is found in children and young adults and characterized by small red spots.
Inverse Psoriasis: This is characterized by bright red lesions.
Pustular Psoriasis: This is usually triggered by medication, UV light, or pregnancy and causes pus-filled blisters around red skin areas.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This type is rare and causes redness and scaling in large areas of the body.
Nail Psoriasis: This results in thick and yellow nails with small pits.
Psoriatic Arthritis: The symptoms of this condition include pain and stiffness in the joints.
Why should you contact a Psoriasis Dermatologist?
Having psoriasis can be difficult but you do not deserve to live with it. A good psoriasis dermatologist, like the ones at Dallas Dermatology Partners, can provide you with everything you need to tackle psoriasis head-on. If you are a patient suffering from this condition, you can contact a dermatologist who will review your condition and provide a personalized treatment plan based on your symptoms.