Advanced Dermatology & Laser Center of Redlands
 
 

Redlands Office

255 Terracina Blvd., Suite 206
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 909-792-8600
Fax: 909-792-8660


 

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Psoriasis Treatments by a Dermatologist

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What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated disorder that causes thick red plaques with silvery scales on the skin. The thick scaling is due to a rapid increase in the multiplication of skin cells, as a result of the T cells of the immune system mistakenly attacking your skin cells instead. Your body then produces other immune system responses, leading to swelling and rapid production of skin cells. Psoriasis tends to run in families and it usually appears between the ages of 10 and 45. Psoriasis symptoms tend to wax and wane, but certain events can cause it to flare up:

  • Alcohol drinking
  • Infections (such as strep throat)
  • Diseases that weaken the immune system
  • Stress
  • Certain medication
  • Skin trauma
  • Smoking


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What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

Depending on the duration of the disease, the symptoms of psoriasis may include:

  • Red, raised plaques of scaly skin
  • Dry, cracked skin especially of the palms and soles
  • Skin that burns, is itchy or sore
  • Thick, pitted fingernails with brown stains
  • Pus-filled blisters on the red patches of skin


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Is psoriasis contagious?

No, you cannot catch psoriasis from another person or give it to someone by touching them. You also cannot spread it to other parts of your body.
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How is psoriasis treated?

There are various treatments for psoriasis. Your doctor will help you decide which one is best for you. Keeping your skin moisturized with an over-the-counter product is a good first step. Body lotion can help keep skin from getting too dry and cracking, and it can also help remove some of the scales. Vaseline is best for this purpose.

Prescription creams, ointments, lotions and gels that you put on the affected areas are often recommended to treat psoriasis. To help the medicine, you might apply it and then cover the areas with plastic wrap (such as Saran Wrap). Options include corticosteroids and a type of vitamin D (Dovonex). Special shampoos are used for psoriasis on the scalp.

In more severe cases of psoriasis, medicines are taken in pill form. These include oral methotrexate, cyclosporine and acitretin. Because these medicines can cause severe side effect, you must be seen on regular intervals and blood tests must be obtained to monitor any internal side effects that may occur.

More recently, severe psoriasis and especially arthritis caused by psoriasis are treated with injectable biologic agents which blocks the overproduction of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in psoriatic patients. The common ones used are Enbrel and Humira. While they are effective in controlling the worst forms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, these can lower the immune system and serious infections such as Tuberculosis and viral infections can occur. Therefore, you must be under the care of your doctor on regular intervals and blood tests should be taken to monitor the progress and side effects.

Sunlight can help psoriasis, but be careful not to stay in the sun too long, since a sunburn can actually make your psoriasis worse. Light therapy with UVB or UVA may be another option for treatment of psoriasis. With the later therapy, the affected skin is exposed to controlled forms of artificial sunlight, usually after using Psoralen, a light-sensitizing medicine. This is called "PUVA" treatment.
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Will psoriasis go away with treatment?

Psoriasis is not curable but it definitely can be controlled enough so that you can function. The lesions of psoriasis should improve within weeks after you begin treatment. It may take 2 to 6 weeks for the affected areas of your skin to return to a more normal thickness, but the redness may take several months to improve. While psoriasis will typically improve with treatment, it may not ever completely go away.

After you've been using a certain type of medicine for awhile, your psoriasis may "get used to" the treatment (Tolerance). If this happens, your medicine may not be as effective as it once was, and your doctor may have to change your medicine. Sometimes you may need a stronger dose of medicine.
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Redlands Office
Advanced Dermatology & Laser Center of Redlands
255 Terracina Blvd., Suite 206
Redlands, CA 92373
Phone: 909-792-8600
Fax: 909-792-8660


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Board-certified dermatologist, Fred F. Soeprono, M.D., serves cosmetic, medical, and laser dermatology needs of the Inland Empire including Redlands, Ontario, Fontana, Highland, Yucaipa, Moreno Valley, Riverside, Rialto, Colton, San Bernardino, Riverside, and surrounding areas.