Characterized by painful itching and skin irritation, psoriasis is a condition affecting nearly 8 million Americans. It’s not curable, but there are still powerful ways you can benefit from psoriasis treatment. The main goal with the treatment is to reduce irritation, minimize scaly patches, and reduce the impact the condition sometimes has on joints.
Symptom Management with Topical Medication
If you have mild or moderate symptoms, the most powerful and effective psoriasis treatment for you may be topical medication. Corticosteroid ointments work by reducing uncomfortable itching and inflammation. Mild corticosteroids are usually recommended for sensitive areas of skin, and stronger corticosteroid ointment may be used in tough-to-treat areas affected by flare-ups.
Corticosteroids tend to be more effective when used intermittently or for a short-term period. Depending on the nature of your symptoms, you may experience more powerful results with topical treatments involving:
• Synthetic forms of vitamin D to slow down skin cell growth
• Anthralin to make skin smoother and less scaly
• Calcineurin inhibitors to reduce plaque buildup and swelling
• Vitamin A derivatives to minimize inflammation
• Moisturizing creams to reduce itching and dryness
Other Medications That May Provide Welcome Relief
You may experience more powerful and effective results with medication taken orally or given by injection if your psoriasis symptoms are severe. Because some of these medications – which include retinoids, immune system suppressants like Cyclosporine, and drugs that alter the immune system – are only meant to be used for short periods of time, you may be advised to alternate your medications to improve effectiveness while also minimizing potential side effect risks.
Treating Psoriasis with Light Therapy
This type of psoriasis treatment can be effective for some psoriasis sufferers. Light therapy, as the name implies, involves exposing the affected areas of skin to natural or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light. The theory with light therapy is that light exposure stimulates the skin in certain ways that are beneficial.
Exposure to direct sunlight for brief periods of time each day, for example, may slow cell growth and provide relief if your symptoms are mild or moderate. Other forms of light therapy that may prove to be a powerful treatment for your psoriasis symptoms include:
• UVB phototherapy to treat single patches of irritation
• Narrow band UVB phototherapy to improve skin health
• Excimer laser therapy to target very specific areas of skin in a way that does not harm healthy skin tissue
Recommendations for psoriasis treatment are usually based on the severity of symptoms and the specific area of skin that’s affected. We offer different psoriasis treatment options at Dermatology Center of the Rockies in Longmont and Estes Park. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!