While there are many skin conditions that can cause discomfort, one of the most well-known but least understood is psoriasis. This skin condition, which is often chronic and can affect individuals for decades, is usually caused by the body’s immune system. When people who suffer from psoriasis experience a flare up of symptoms, it is because the immune system sends out an overload of information to the skin cells. This causes cells to grow much more rapidly than normal, which leads to irregular patches of itchy, inflamed skin, which characterize psoriasis.
This condition can affect either gender and is usually more prevalent in adults than children. Psoriasis can only be diagnosed by a doctor, who can advise you on specific treatment options that are appropriate for your unique situation, and any side effects that may result from them.
In many cases, psoriasis is caused by genetic factors and tends to run in the family. In other circumstances, the condition is caused by a faulty immune system that stimulates skin cells to stack on top of each other and create patches of rough, irregular, and often scaly skin. Patches caused by psoriasis are usually red and can have very irregular shapes which are easily visible.
Psoriasis flare ups can occur without warning and appear on any part of the body, but the patches are most commonly seen on the back and on the extremities. In some cases, the patches can become itchy or tender to the touch, especially if they are further irritated by dryness, scratchy fabric, or stress. People who smoke may also find that using tobacco makes their psoriasis worse.
In some individuals, psoriasis symptoms may be present only on the scalp or the finger and toenails. This may lead to dry flaky skin on face, and a scaly scalp that is likely to be chronically flaky. When psoriasis presents in the nails, it will often cause them to appear yellow, brittle, and peel away easily from the nail bed. This can lead to infection.
Psoriasis of the nails is the only type of this skin condition that can be treated surgically, as doctors may remove nails that have become infected or toenails that curl in on themselves and impair walking. However, symptoms are much more likely to appear on the back, legs, and arms than on your finger and toenails.
Unlike many other skin conditions, psoriasis cannot be treated with lasers or light therapy. There are also no surgical options for those who suffer from the problem. Most treatments are either given through prescription topical creams and ointments or oral medications, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Less severe cases can usually be treated with a number of creams and preventative care, such as quitting smoking and avoiding situations that are unnecessarily stressful.
More severe cases are usually treated with prescription medications that suppress the immune system so that extra cell growth is inhibited. Those who take these oral medications should only do so under the careful guidance of a physician, as many of them do have a high instance of dangerous side effects.
Topical creams and ointments that are used to treat psoriasis usually have a low instance of side effects, but those who use them should watch out for any allergic reactions that may occur with their use. Oral medications for more severe cases may prove effective but also have a number of side effects because they suppress the immune system. This leaves those who take the drug vulnerable to infections that may make them very ill. Because of this, no one should take psoriasis medication without first consulting a dermatologist about their symptoms.
The price of psoriasis treatment varies for each person depending on the extent of treatment necessary. Booth Dermatology & Cosmetic Care Center of Indianapolis and Carmel accepts CareCredit® financing options that work with every budget! Please speak to our concierge team for more information.
Dr. Sally A. Booth and her staff will be happy to discuss the details with you. Please feel free to call for a private consultation at one of our offices in Carmel or Indianapolis. Dr. Booth and his staff at Booth Dermatology & Cosmetic Care Center provide personalized care to residents of Indianapolis and Carmel with state-of-the-art technology for optimal health, aesthetics, and patient satisfaction. To receive more information or schedule a consultation, call (317) 848-2427 to speak with our friendly staff.