Psoriasis Got you Down?

By: John Russell

Psoriasis is a dermatology inflammation (inherited) that causes cells to grow too quickly. Dermatology textbooks describe psoriasis as skin producing thick red patches often covered with silvery scales. These can occur on most parts of the body but are commonest on knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or lower back (dermatology hotspots). Affected fingernails become thickened and pitted.

Dermatology data shows Psoriasis afflicts between 5 and 7 million people in the U.S. Psoriasis can't be cured but episodes can be controlled. Here are some options dermatology experts cite:

&bullCorticosteroids or Calcipotriene (a vitamin-D derivative) Creams and Ointments can reduce inflammation.

&bullUltraviolet Light Treatments applied three times a week for 3 months, they can temporarily clear-up psoriasis by slowing down the cell turnover process, hence, normalizing the skin's appearance.

&bullMethotrexate (developed to fight cancer), Cyclosporine (an immune-suppressing drug), or Acitretin (a retinoid similar to isotretinoin, a powerful acne medication) - These are reserved for severe cases. All can heal psoriasis outbreaks in days to weeks but carry potentially serious side effects.

&bullBiologics - This new approach, in which patients inject themselves with drugs, targets the immune system and blocks inflammation. Biologics carry fewer side effects than traditional dermatology psoriasis treatments and can be used for longer periods of time.

Over-the-counter products aren't as effective on thick, red psoriatic patches as dermatology treatments but they still offer relief. Start with a 15-minute soak with mineral-rich bath salts, which are soothing, and cover with rich creams and ointments that help seal moisture to the skin.

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Skin Disorders
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