When it comes to common skin conditions, most people will likely think of acne. Affecting several million people, this skin problem occurs most often in adolescence: more than 40% of teenagers will have acne or acne scarring by their mid-teens. However, acne can develop at almost any age, causing people to visit a dermatologist for acne treatment in their twenties, thirties, even forties and fifties. But the affects of acne often pale in comparison with psoriasis, a medically minor but incredibly irritating disorder. What is psoriasis, and how can it be treated?
The Cause of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin disorder that actually changes the life cycle of skin cells. In this condition, the cells build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches. These patches can often become painful. Unfortunately, psoriasis is a long-lasting disorder with no cure. However, the condition often goes through period where it worsens and improves, and dermatologist clinics can prescribe treatments that offer significant relief.
If you suspect you have psoriasis, it is important that you visit one of the best rated dermatologists in your area to be formally tested and diagnosed. It may even be necessary or preferable to see a dermatologist specialist. Following the diagnosis, a dermatologist will prescribe one of three common treatment options: topical treatments, phototherapy, or biologic medications. All of these treatments aim to slow skin cell growth and reduce existing scales. The best rated dermatologists will often combine these different methods to yield the most effective possible results.
- Topical treatments include creams, lotions, shampoos, ointments, pills or injections, which affect the body’s immune response or normalize DNA activity in the cells. By suppressing the immune system, they can slow cell turnover and reduce itching, while DNA normalization can reduce irritation. The type of topical treatment often depends on the location of the patches, severity and other health factors.
- Phototherapy, in contrast, uses natural or artificial ultraviolet light to help reduce activated T-cells. The most common form is simply exposing the body to natural sunlight, but other forms are administered under the care of a doctor. This treatment is often combined with topical medications.
- Biologic psoriasis medications refer to protein-based drug derived from living cells, which were cultured in a laboratory. This treatment is injected into the skin or delivered intravenously, and target specific components of the immune system. As a result, they are used mostly to treat moderate to severe, even disabling, psoriasis, as well as psoriatic arthritis.
While not the most commonly associated skin condition, psoriasis has a serious impact on the many people who suffer from this skin disorder. Not only is psoriasis severely uncomfortable due to the itching, irritation and pain, but the appearance of the patches can cause a significant amount of social anxiety and shame. As a result, if you suspect you have this condition, don’t wait: contact the best rated dermatologist in your area today to set up an appointment for a potential diagnosis.
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