Approximately 7.5 million American are affected by the skin condition psoriasis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Symptoms of those affected are patches of skin that look pink or red and scaly with a silver coloring on top. It is most commonly found on the knees, elbows and/or scalp.
If the common plaque psoriasis is found on the scalp, a shampoo or solution will relieve the complications of psoriasis. However, I would recommend these further steps to treat psoriasis.
First, it is important to visit a dermatologist at Park Avenue Dermatology so they can evaluate the severity of the psoriasis. Treatment will depend on a variety of factors including the thickness of the plaques and surface area of the body the psoriasis covers.
I typically prescribe a topical to first treat the skin. However, the more severe psoriatic arthritis requires further steps that will have to be taken such as a systemic agent to prevent permanent damage. Also, in cases of 10% or more of the body being covered in psoriasiswe may look to other treatment beyond topicals as it is difficult to completely cover the large area in cream daily.
Topical medications will take different forms from sprays to creams and solutions and will be used once to twice a day.Some topicals will include steroids and these more powerful medications can have side effects. So, some patients will be advised to use a steroid cream in rotation with a non-steroid medication.
A step beyond topical medication is oral medication. These pills are taken orally once to twice daily. Popularly prescribed oral medications are Apremilast and acitretin. Your dermatologist will consult with you about the best prescription for the individual.
Light or laser therapy is another treatment and will usually take the form of narrow-band UVB phototherapy. This requires going in to a dermatologist’s office two to three times a week and stepping in a vertical box similar to a tanning booth. Patients may have to receive this treatment up to six months depending on the severity of the condition.
Finally, biologics are the last resort treatment for psoriasis. They have become more popular in recent years as they are time efficient, have few side effects and are highly effective. This treatment involves getting an injection or infusion anywhere from weekly to every three months.
In review, the first step to treating your psoriasis is to visit a dermatologist, so he/she can evaluate the severity of the condition. From that point there are a variety of treatment options based on several factors determined by your dermatologist.Throughout the process it is important to remain informed of all your treatment options.