An estimated 7.5 million people in America are diagnosed with psoriasis, with the largest age group being those who are between the ages of 45 and 64. Psoriasis is a hereditary autoimmune skin condition that causes the skin to develop inflamed, itchy, scaly plaque. Although not contagious or life-threatening, psoriasis can be a cause of self-consciousness for many people. At Dundee Dermatology in West Dundee, IL, we are up to date with all the latest psoriasis treatments.
What Should You Expect From Psoriasis Treatment?
Psoriasis treatment first starts with a consultation at one of our clinic locations. During your consultation, a skin expert will examine your skin to determine the severity of your skin condition. We will discuss when your symptoms began, any possible triggers, and explore some of the most common treatments for psoriasis available to you.
Several treatments are common for people who have mild to moderate psoriasis. Topical therapy, light therapy, oral medications, and at-home treatments can all be used independently or together to address the symptoms of this skin disease. The treatment recommended for you will be determined by the severity of your condition, whether or not other treatments have worked for you in the past, and other medical conditions you may have.
Light therapy is relatively new for psoriasis treatment, but clinical studies have found light and laser treatments to be highly effective for managing this condition. Laser treatments such as the XTRACT Velocity-700 Excimer Laser uses strong UVB light to target the localized affected skin plaques. For this treatment, about four to 10 sessions are necessary to see any significant improvements in your skin condition.
Why Is Light Therapy So Effective?
While topical steroids can produce faster results, the downside is that they may become ineffective if they are used too long and some people may even have medical restrictions, such as allergies, that make it difficult to use this topical treatment. With light therapy, you will not need to worry about developing a tolerance to your treatment plan and light therapy is generally safe for most patients.
Light therapy is so effective because extensive studies have identified the specific wavelength that is the most effective at treating affected psoriasis skin cells. The UVB rays send specific messages to skin cells that work to calm inflammation and restore the appearance of the skin. And unlike some other treatments, UVB light therapy can be used on virtually every area of the body, including the hands and feet.
For those who have severe psoriasis, the use of biologics or prescription medications can be immensely helpful. Biologics are generally medications formulated with active proteins that block chemical messengers to stop specific activity in the immune system. These medications are often injected directly into areas where psoriasis is active. Oral medications may also be an option.
Topical treatments include the daily application of creams, ointments, lotions, gels, foam, and even certain soaps. Topical treatments aim to reduce inflammation, help your skin shed scales, or slow skin growth. It’s common to combine topical treatments with other treatment options to enhance the efficacy of your treatment plan.
The most common topical treatment for this condition is prescription-strength corticosteroids, along with Vitamin D analogues, retinoids, salicylic acid, and other products that are applied directly to the skin. Usually, you can see the result of topical treatments in about two to four weeks, particularly for hydrocortisone or other topical steroids.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is thought to be caused by a combination of your genetics and an overactive immune system. Beyond that, however, psoriasis flare-ups are triggered by specific factors, such as stress, your diet, medications, your hormones, and even your lifestyle habits.
Some patients find that they can avoid constant flare-ups by making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption. During your treatment, you may be able to determine the trigger for your skin condition so you can avoid that trigger in the future.
Who Are Good Candidates?
The best candidates for psoriasis treatment are those who have been diagnosed with mild, moderate, or severe psoriasis. Diagnosis can happen before or during your consultation; in general, the condition of your skin will easily verify that you have psoriasis and you are a good candidate for various treatments at one of our clinics.
Some treatments for psoriasis can’t be used by people who have allergies or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The treatment that will be used for your skin condition will be determined by your preferences and the severity of your skin condition. Light therapy is sometimes a first-line treatment for patients, along with conservative topical treatments.
Manage Your Psoriasis Today With the Right Treatment Plan
It’s often the case that treating psoriasis is a complicated process. Because psoriasis flare-ups can be inconsistent and because this is a lifelong skin condition, it may take some time to find the treatment plan that your skin is most responsive to. That said, the right treatment or combination of treatments can help calm your skin condition. Please contact us at Dundee Dermatology in Elgin, South Elgin, West Dundee, Carpentersville, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Huntley, St Charles, and Geneva, IL to schedule your psoriasis consultation today.