The skin condition psoriasis is due to skin cells that have an irregular life cycle. Their growth increases at an unnatural rate, so the cells pile up on the surface of the skin forming red patches and scales that itch and cause pain.
The exact reason why your skin cells go haywire is unknown, but it’s likely due to genetics and a faulty immune system. It can develop at any age, but it most commonly appears between ages 15 and 35. A trigger, such as stress or the weather, is often responsible for the onset of psoriasis and outbreaks.
Psoriasis is not contagious, so you cannot catch it from coming in contact with it.
Areas of skin that are dry or red, and that are usually covered with silvery or white scales
Rashes on the scalp, genitals, or in skin folds (like the folds you have at the elbow)
Nail changes that make the fingernails or toenails look pitted, crumbly, or different in color
Psoriasis has an emotional effect, too. People with the condition often feel embarrassed by their skin, and some get depressed or anxious. If you have these problems, mention them to your doctor or nurse. You might feel better with counseling or another type of mental health treatment.
Psoriasis describes a group of skin conditions that include:
The providers at Atlantic Dermatology do a thorough physical exam, review your symptoms, and discuss with you your medical and family history to determine if you have psoriasis. No blood test can diagnose it, but they may order a skin biopsy to see if the psoriatic skin is thicker and inflamed.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that can affect some people with psoriasis. It causes pain and swelling in the joints. If you have these problems, mention them to your doctor or nurse.
People with psoriatic arthritis can take medicines to reduce pain and swelling. Exercise and physical therapy can also help. Plus, some of the same medicines that help with the skin problems caused by psoriasis also help with psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis does not have a cure, but the symptoms are controllable. Treatment aims at reducing skin inflammation and making itching less prominent and giving you clear skin. Your provider may offer topical treatments, oral or injectable medications, or light therapy to ease the skin condition.
At Atlantic Dermatology, PA, we are proud to offer the Pharos excimer laser. This is a safe and effective treatment FDA approved for the treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis (eczema). This laser delivers Ultraviolet B (UVB light) at a very specific wavelength of 308nm in short, targeted, completely painless pulses. This laser employs a handpiece that rests directly on the skin and targets only lesional skin, without exposing healthy skin to ultraviolet radiation. This painless treatment lasts only a few minutes, with most patients experiencing improvement with each session. This treatment is ideal for localized areas such as the scalp, elbows, and knees. In the case of mild to moderate psoriasis, this laser is excellent for persistent plaques that may have not responded to creams and ointments. This treatment is covered by most insurances for psoriasis, but please note that insurance coverage varies by condition and plan. Please speak with our staff for details regarding insurance coverage.
If you need help with psoriasis management, call Atlantic Dermatology or book a consultation online.
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