autoimmune disease, Psoriasis, skyrizi, psoriasis treatment, Skin biopsy

Psoriasis Treatment

The effects of this autoimmune disease go beyond skin. Dry, itchy, raised, or red patches of inflammation are hard to live with and interfere with your work and personal life. Both the source and treatment of this condition are as personal as your own DNA. Psoriasis may not be curable, but the right plan can help soothe your skin into remission. Personal care is needed in order to come up with the right plan.

Dr. Hawley, one of our board-certified dermatologists, is a national expert in this area and will develop the right plan for your skin. The Derm Institute offers many treatments, including in-office phototherapy treatments, which are natural, safe, and effective. By understanding your routine and the stressors in your life, we’ll work out a plan to calm inflammation and strike a balance between your skin, your schedule, and you.

To learn about psoriasis during pregnancy and what medications or treatments are safe, listen to this podcast featuring Dr. Hawley and Dr. Dustin Portela, a board-certified dermatologist and host of the Health IQ podcast.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is psoriasis?

  • Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the skin in over 125 million people worldwide, and can appear in various forms and affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. This condition causes an increase in the production of skin cells, leading to the development of patches of thick, red, and scaly skin that can be itchy and painful.

What causes psoriasis?

  • The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown but researchers believe that it is a result of both genetic and environmental factors. Studies have suggested that certain genes and abnormalities in the immune system may play a role in the development of psoriasis, and that triggers like stress, infections, and injury can cause flare-ups. This can lead to the formation of thick, itchy patches on the skin's surface. The immune system plays a critical role in psoriasis development, particularly T cells that mistakenly attack healthy skin cells. Some environmental factors that may trigger psoriasis flare-ups include stress, poor diet, alcohol, smoking, and infections. Additionally, certain medications and physical trauma to the skin may also cause psoriasis. People with a family history of psoriasis or have a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk of developing psoriasis.

Is psoriasis contagious?

  • Although the symptoms of psoriasis can look similar to other contagious skin conditions, like ringworm or scabies, it is not possible to catch psoriasis from another person. It is not caused by bacteria or viruses and is not an infection. Understanding the facts about psoriasis can help reduce the social stigma and misconceptions surrounding this condition.

How is psoriasis diagnosed?

  • It is important to diagnose psoriasis promptly to prevent the risk of serious complications such as joint stiffness and pain. To diagnose psoriasis, a dermatologist will examine your skin and ask questions about your symptoms, medical history, and family history of psoriasis. They will look for the hallmark signs of the disease, which can include patches of raised, thick, red skin with silvery scales. They may also conduct a skin biopsy, which involves removing a small piece of skin for further examination under a microscope. Additionally, blood tests are used to rule out other possible conditions that may have similar symptoms.

    They may also use a light therapy called Wood's Lamp, to examine your skin under UV light, to help rule out other autoimmune disorders that may resemble psoriasis symptoms. Getting a proper diagnosis is essential to developing an effective treatment plan.

What are the different types of psoriasis?

  • There are several different types of psoriasis, each presenting with unique symptoms and characteristics. The five most common types of psoriasis are:
    • Plaque psoriasis - The most common form, is seen as raised, red patches covered with white or silver scales on the skin.
    • Guttate psoriasis - Characterized by small, drop-like lesions that are spread all over the body, including the trunk, limbs, and scalp.
    • Inverse psoriasis - Affects skin folds and appears as smooth, inflamed patches of reddish skin.
    • Pustular psoriasis - Characterized by white, pus-filled blisters surrounded by red skin.
    • Erythrodermic psoriasis - Rare but severe type that causes widespread redness, swelling, and shedding of skin.

What are the common symptoms of psoriasis?

  • Those with psoriasis may experience a range of symptoms that can impact their quality of life. Some of the common symptoms of psoriasis include red, thick, silvery scaly patches of skin, itching, burning, flaking, and bleeding. These patches can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the scalp, nails, elbows, knees, and lower back. Many people with psoriasis also experience joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, which can be a sign of psoriatic arthritis.

What are the treatment options for psoriasis?

  • Depending on the severity of the psoriasis, different treatments may be recommended. A combination of lifestyle modifications, like reducing stress and avoiding triggers, medication, and therapies are often recommended to alleviate the itching, burning, and flaking associated with this skin condition. Topical creams, ointments, and gels can help reduce inflammation. Phototherapy, which involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light, and medications, such as oral and injectable drugs, can slow down the growth of skin cells, help manage inflammation, and suppress the immune system. Working with a dermatologist to develop a personalized treatment plan is crucial for achieving long-term relief.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?

  • Despite significant advances in the understanding of psoriasis, there is no known cure for this troubling disease. However, there are numerous treatment options that can help manage its symptoms, reduce the frequency of flare-ups, and keep the condition under control. It is critical for psoriasis patients to find a personalized treatment plan that works best for them, and working closely with a dermatologist is imperative in achieving optimal results.