Even though psoriasis is a common skin disorder, you may feel like you’re the only one who has it. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disorder marked by red, silvery, and itchy lesions that can have a profoundly negative effect on your confidence and self-esteem.
The caring and expert dermatologists and skin specialists at Specialists in Dermatology don’t want you to hide your skin — or yourself — just because you have psoriasis. At their locations in Houston, Texas, and The Woodlands, Texas, they offer effective treatments for all types and severities of psoriasis so that you can feel comfortable in your own skin again.
Ironically, though too much sunlight can trigger a flare of psoriasis, the right dose of ultraviolet light can soothe it. Phototherapy is one of the oldest and most effective treatments for psoriasis.
The cells that make up the outer layer of your skin — keratinocytes — normally replace old cells and then shed off as they age. If you have psoriasis, however, you produce keratinocytes at a more rapid rate than you can shed them. The build-up of old cells causes your skin to develop characteristic thick, red, and silvery patches.
If you have mild psoriasis, your dermatologist may recommend briefly exposing your skin to sunlight each day. Be sure to have an in-depth discussion about the duration of exposure and sunscreen use, so that you don’t damage other portions of your skin. Sunburn, in fact, is one of the causes of psoriasis.
We offer controlled phototherapy in the office for increased efficacy and safety. Low-dose UV light reduces the rate at which you produce keratinocytes, allowing old skin cells to shed before new ones take their place. You may need several treatments a week before your lesions clear.
Psoriatic plaques can be itchy and uncomfortable as well as embarrassing. If you have mild-to-moderate psoriasis, you may get relief with topical treatments, such as:
- Corticosteroids to control flares
- Vitamin D preparations to slow keratinocyte growth
- Salicylic acid for scalp psoriasis
- Retinoids to speed cell turnover
- Calcineurin inhibitors to reduce inflammation
- Coal tar or anthralin to reduce inflammation and itching
Your dermatologist may recommend combining phototherapy with tar therapy for a synergistic effect.
If light therapy and topical treatments haven’t helped, or if you have severe psoriasis, your doctor may recommend oral medications to control itching and inflammation. Some also help you shed skin cells more rapidly to prevent plaque formation. Some choices include:
Most oral medications can only be taken over the short-term because of their potential for side effects.
Biologics are potent, protein-based drugs that are created from living cells that were cultured in a laboratory. The biologics that the dermatologists at Specialists in Dermatology use to treat psoriasis are designed to block proteins in your immune system that trigger psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Your dermatologist administers biologics through injections or intravenously.
The types of biologics include:
- Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors
- Interleukin 12 and 23 (IL-12/23) inhibitors
- Interleukin 17 (IL-17) inhibitors
- T-cell inhibitors
- Interleukin 23 (IL-23) inhibitors
Your dermatologist may recommend combining biologics with topical treatments.
To find out which effective psoriasis treatment is right for you, contact the experts at Specialists in Dermatology. Phone the office nearest you today, or fill out our convenient online scheduling form.