Psoriasis is a life-long (chronic), auto-immune illness that causes the body to develop patches of inflamed, red, crusty, flaking patches on the skin – these patches are often accompanied by a silvery scaly look.
As the condition affects the skin of the patient, it can be an extremely uncomfortable illness to manage. The affected areas of skin are prone to periods of extreme soreness and discomfort, and just to make it worse, as the condition can affect areas of skin difficult to hide, it can often have an enormous impact on a sufferers’ self-esteem.
The condition tends to initially present itself in adults under the age of 35 years old and doesn’t discriminate based on gender. Sadly, with Psoriasis affecting roughly 2-3% of the United States’ population – it’s not even really an uncommon medical condition.
How Can I Treat My Psoriasis?
Treatment options for Psoriasis tend to revolve around treating the symptoms of the condition. It’s important to remember when treating Psoriasis that the medical condition has no known cure. Therefore, the majority of treatments focus on reducing the pain and inflammation, the crusty and flaky patches, the excessive growth of skin cells as well as the scales the condition is responsible for causing. Psoriasis treatments tend to fall into one of three categories: Topical Treatments, Systemic Medications and Light Therapies.
Topical treatments for Psoriasis tend to come in the forms of creams, ointments and foams. These creams, ointments and foams are often applied directly to the areas of affected skin – they’re usually highly effective treatment options for those suffering from mild or moderate psoriasis.
Corticosteroids are one of the most widely used and effective forms of treatment for Psoriasis. As Corticosteroids have properties that make them anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive as well as anti-proliferative they are incredibly efficient at targeting some of the condition’s main concerns.
There are seven different classes of Corticosteroid creams and ointments ranging from the least potent at class 7, through to super-potent class 1 Corticosteroids.
Oral Retinoids have been used for quite some time to help treat Psoriasis, however relatively recently Topical Retinoid Creams have begun to be developed to help treat the condition. It is believed that Retinoids work at the gene level, helping your body to properly moderate its replacement and production of skin cells.
Topical Retinoids often come in the form of creams, foams or ointments.
Anthralin is a treatment option that has been around and used successfully for a number of years, nevertheless it’s often used for the most stubborn cases of Psoriasis. This is because the medication has skin staining and irritating side-effects. Topical Anthralin Cream treatments are often used in conjunction with Light Therapy treatments to maximise its effectiveness.
Topical Anthralin usually can be found in cream, foam or ointment forms.
Topical Vitamin D Analogues
Vitamin D Analogues are believed to work in a similar way to Corticosteroid Creams by helping the body moderate its production of skin cells and reduce inflammation. Interestingly enough Topical Vitamin D Analogues have proven to be as effective as mild steroids – with far fewer negative side-effects.
Topical Vitamin D Analogues can usually be found in cream, ointment or foam forms.
Salicylic acid is usually used in conjunction with other therapies – it’s been proven to improve the effectiveness of corticosteroid treatments. Salicylic acid has also been found to help reduce the scaly look of Psoriasis lesions, whilst at the same time softening them.
Salicylic Acid can usually be found in a range of forms such as in lotions, creams and ointments.
Nevertheless, although the vast majority of people suffering from Psoriasis will find effective relief from the condition using topical Psoriasis creams and medications, many people who are suffering from moderate to severe Psoriasis may need to try stronger treatment options.
Systemic Medications such as Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, Biologic Medications (Adalimumab, Infliximab etc) and stronger forms of Retinoids are an effective treatment option for moderate to severe Psoriasis. These medications either need to be taken orally or via injection, they can have severe side effects and doctors therefore only prescribe them for short periods of time.
Many people suffering from Psoriasis have reported that their condition has improved in hotter and sunnier climates. When researched, it was discovered that sunlight destroys overreactive white-blood cells, the same white blood cells that are attacking healthy skin cells and causing the Psoriasis patches. UV light is recommended in conjunction with other Psoriasis therapies for sufferers of mild to moderate Psoriasis.