Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes skin cells to grow abnormally fast. It presents as thick, scaly patches on the skin. In normal skin, cells grow and fall off after about 4 weeks. When the skin sheds off, new cells then grow in place of the cells that have flaked off. When you have psoriasis, those new skin cells come to the skin’s surface much more quickly—in days instead of weeks.
Psoriasis can be an extremely embarrassing condition, especially during swimsuit season. Although psoriasis is not contagious, it is a chronic condition that requires attention to manage it successfully.
Causes of Psoriasis
It is not exactly clear why some people get psoriasis; however, there is a strong genetic component and the immune system plays a large role as well. It is widely thought that the cause of psoriasis has to do with the T cells in the body, which are white blood cells. T cells help our bodies fight off infections, but when you have psoriasis, the T cells attack the healthy skin cells instead as if they were a foreign substance.
Triggers for Psoriasis Outbreaks
Triggers for psoriasis outbreaks include:
- Strep throat
- Cold weather
- Bug bites
- High blood pressure medications
Types of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. This chronic skin condition is often characterized by an almost silvery buildup of skin (oval-circular plaques) that can develop on the back, palms, scalp, feet, face, knees, and elbows.
Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include dry, cracking, and itchy skin that can sometimes appear raw and may bleed.
Scalp psoriasis appears as scaly, dry, and even cracked and bleeding patches of skin along the hairline, back of the neck, or even behind the ears.
Consultation for Psoriasis
If you have lesions and scaly patches that are not going away, we strongly recommend seeing a dermatology provider for treatment options. Your dermatology provider may biopsy the area to determine that it is psoriasis versus another type of skin condition. We want to make sure that you get the right type of treatment to lessen the effects of this chronic skin condition.
Treatments for Psoriasis
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can make a dramatic difference in the intensity and severity of your skin condition.
Treatment for psoriasis includes oral medications, prescription-strength topical ointments (e.g., Calcipotriene, Anthralin, and Tazarotene), and systemic medications such as biologic therapy. Laser therapy is also an effective option for certain patients.
Our patients have reported tremendous success with topical ointments and have seen results within 8 weeks. And the excimer laser can deliver a much larger and more focused dose of ultraviolet light, giving excellent results without the need to expose the entire body and thus minimizing side effects.
At Schweiger Dermatology Group, we are also pleased to offer the FDA-approved psoriasis light treatment, XTRAC, to help the most stubborn psoriasis go into remission.
The XTRAC light-based therapy is a revolutionary treatment for psoriasis with astounding results. XTRAC offers a painless and innovative way to manage the symptoms of psoriasis.
Using a highly targeted, therapeutic beam of UVB light, XTRAC targets those areas where the skin is affected, leaving healthy skin untouched. It miraculously helps clear the scaly and red skin associated with chronic psoriasis. Sessions are short, and there is no downtime following your procedure. XTRAC provides long-lasting results, leaving patients symptom free for months. Plus, XTRAC is covered by most insurance plans.
If you have psoriasis, there are certain diet modifications you can make to keep your psoriasis in check.
The best foods for psoriasis include omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and mackerel and vegetables with anti-inflammatory properties, such as nuts, avocados, kale, spinach, and broccoli. The worst foods for psoriasis include alcohol, refined sugar, gluten, fried foods, dairy products and nightshade vegetable, such as tomatoes, pepper and potatoes. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps keep your psoriasis in check.
Controlling Psoriasis Outbreaks
There are certain lifestyle measures you can take to help control psoriasis outbreaks. Take a daily lukewarm bath to remove the scales associated with psoriasis. You can also add colloidal oatmeal and bath oils to help soothe inflamed skin.
Psoriasis Treatment at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NY, NJ, PA & CT
We’ve had great success helping patients cope with and control the embarrassing symptoms of psoriasis. Using a variety of medications and innovative technologies, we can certainly help you too!