Today is World Psoriasis Day. It’s estimated that as many as 125 million people worldwide suffer from the condition, which often results in a good deal of discomfort. Dara Spearman, MD, PPG – Premier Dermatology and Skincare, tells us more about the effects of psoriasis and how patients can find relief.
Psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells divide and replicate too rapidly.
Patients often develop plaques and dilation on the skin. This can look like red patches on any area of the skin, or, when the case is severe, all over the body. When the condition is widespread, this is a cause for concern. The patches can be itchy or painful.
While a specific cause is still unknown, doctors know there is some genetic component. They also know that the immune system plays a role, as t-cells are attacking healthy skin instead of infection, like the immune system is intended to do.
There is no proven method for preventing the onset of psoriasis, but there are measures patients can take to prevent a flair up. Avoiding trauma to the skin, smoking and stress can be helpful.
If the psoriasis is localized, presenting on just the scalp, elbows and/or knees, we use topical steroids, topical vitamin D analogs and other topical medications that are less invasive to thin out plaques. If the case is more severe or widespread, we look at more invasive treatment, like light therapy. A little natural sunlight can help. We also have narrow band UVB light boxes patients can get in to help get the abnormal cells out of the skin and back into the bloodstream. There are also biologic medications and injections available.