Psoriasis Awareness Month is in full swing and there’s so much more that you need to know about this common, chronic skin condition. As we explained in our previous article, The Inside Scoop on Psoriasis, it is a 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.
This week our focus is to give a more detailed explanation about the different types of psoriasis, as well as the different treatment options.
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 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 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.
Light therapy may be used in combination with topical treatments to slow the production of skin cells and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Light therapy includes exposure to natural sunlight or narrowband ultraviolet-B light.
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.
Injectable medications may be prescribed for severe cases of psoriasis. There are numerous classes of prescription injectables including “TNF-alpha blockers” such as Humira, Cimzia, Enbrel, Simponi and Remicade; “IL-23 blockers” such as Tremfya, Ilumya and Skyrizi; and “IL-17A blockers” Cosentyx, Taltz and Siliq.
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.
Our Luminary Dermatology providers want to help you relieve that stubborn psoriasis. If you or a loved one are in need of dermatological care in Bradenton, or searching high and low for the top dermatologists in Sarasota, you have found the place! Click here to see which of our locations is most convenient for you.