Living with Psoriasis: Causes and Misconceptions
Monday, October 29, 2018 is World Psoriasis Day. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the largest nonprofit funder of psoriatic disease research in the world, 125 million people live with Psoriasis.
Very often, psoriasis issues start slowly, with just a few red or itchy spots on the skin. Yet, the amount of affected skin continues to increase over time. For some patients, the symptoms may become unmanageable. Eventually, they desire professional help for Psoriasis treatments. However, in many cases individual situations are not always cut clearly. In order to understand Psoriasis treatments, take a look at underlying causes and misconceptions.*
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that comes in many forms. The most common form is Psoriasis Vulgaris. Forming on the skin and anywhere on the body, this type of Psoriasis is characterized by thick red plaques.
“Psoriasis is a very common problem…Roughly 3% of the world population has symptoms of this condition,” says Dr. Todd Anhalt expert Dermatologist at California Skin Institute. Dr. Anhalt has worked with patients suffering with Psoriasis for over 20 years.
“What’s really heartbreaking is when a patient thinks that it’s somehow their fault. Some of the patients I’ve met over the years unnecessarily blamed themselves and thought it was their hygiene or their diet. But Psoriasis is actually caused by genetic factors. So, the first thing I like to explain to patients is that it’s not anything they’re doing wrong and that the only way to really get it under control is to get it properly diagnosed and to get professional help.”
Some patients struggle with the stigma of this condition as friends, co-workers and random strangers believe Psoriasis is contagious. “The condition isn’t contagious at all,” continues Dr. Anhalt, “it’s completely genetic and you don’t get to choose your genes.”
Can Psoriasis be Cured?
When considering Psoriasis treatments, it is important to keep in mind that because the condition is genetic, it cannot be cured – only controlled. Therefore, it is vital to work with an experienced dermatologist and carefully follow the treatment regimen. Otherwise, flare-ups are likely to return.*
How to Treat Psoriasis
The first step toward a successful Psoriasis treatment is to correctly diagnose the condition. According to Dr. Anhalt, “other issues, like rash or Eczema can be confused with Psoriasis by the untrained eye. That’s why you have to see a dermatologist or you may be treating the wrong condition with the wrong over the counter creams.”
If the skin patches do turn out to be Psoriasis, there are a variety of treatments available*:
Mild cases of Psoriasis can be treated with cortisone creams. The effectiveness of these creams can in some cases be enhanced with vitamin D. There are virtually no side effects and the treatment can be used on a long term basis.*
For more serious cases, California Skin Institute providers may suggest the use of oral medications. In some situations, the oral treatment may be administered initially to reduce symptoms quickly and then followed up with a topical regimen.*
In cases where over 10% of the patient’s skin is affected by Psoriasis, the treatment can include injections of Biologics. This approach can yield powerful results when administered correctly.*
Psoriasis also responds well to light therapy, using UVA and UVB light.* In situations where a large surface area of the skin is affected by this condition, the patient can undergo light box treatments. This involves disrobing and stepping into a box that exposes the entire surface area of the skin to light. For targeted spot treatments, California Skin Institute providers can also use the XTRAC laser. This laser is one of the latest developments in targeted phototherapy, and is FDA-cleared for treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo and atopic dermatitis.*
Get Psoriasis Under Control
If you are struggling with Psoriasis, Contact a California Skin Institute practice near you to schedule your treatment consultation today or use the online scheduler now! With professional support from California Skin Institute, there is no need to go through this condition alone.
(Dr. Todd Anhalt, Board Certified dermatologist, has helped patients treat Psoriasis and many other skin conditions for over 20 years. In addition to healing patients, Dr. Anhalt also serves as a Clinical Professor Emeritus of Dermatology at Stanford.)
*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.