Psoriasis develops when your immune system sends faulty signals that prompt skin cells to grow too quickly. Rather than forming over the course of a week, as usual, these new skin cells form in a matter of days. Because your body doesn’t shed the excess cells, they pile up on the surface of your skin, causing patches of psoriasis to appear.
As your body continues to move new skin cells to the outermost layer of skin too quickly, these patches become thicker and scalier. Psoriasis patches can be itchy and sore, and they may also become dry and form cracks that bleed. Psoriasis isn’t contagious.
Medical researchers believe both genetics and environmental factors play a role in the development of the disease. Certain things can cause psoriasis to begin or get worse. Known psoriasis triggers include:
The five main forms of psoriasis are:
Plaque psoriasis: This common form of the condition can show up anywhere on your body, even inside your mouth. It has red, raised lesions that are dry and covered with scales, and may be itchy or painful.
Inverse psoriasis: This condition, which is often triggered by fungal infections, causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin to develop in the groin or genital region, armpits, or beneath the breasts.
Guttate psoriasis: This type of psoriasis is usually triggered by a bacterial infection, and mostly affects young adults and children. Instead of causing thick lesions, guttate psoriasis causes small, drop-shaped, scaling lesions on the scalp, trunk, legs, or arms.
Psoriatic arthritis: This advanced condition causes inflamed, scaly skin as well as swollen, painful joints that feel arthritic. Symptoms may be mild or severe and can affect any joint. Progressive joint damage is also possible.
Nail psoriasis: This condition affects your fingernails and toenails. While it typically causes pitting, abnormal nail growth, and discoloration, it can also cause nails to separate from the nail bed.
Because psoriasis can’t be cured, medical treatments are designed to reduce inflammation and clear your skin. The three main methods of treatment include topical treatments, systemic medications, and light therapy.
Topical treatments, such as corticosteroids and retinoids, are medicated creams or lotions that you apply directly to the skin lesions. They’re most effective for mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. Topical lotions are often combined with oral or injected medications to treat more severe cases of the disease, as most of these medications can only be taken for short periods of time.
Light therapy involves exposure to ultraviolet light, which slows cell turnover to help reduce scaling and inflammation. The team at Easton Dermatology Associates uses excimer laser technology, which delivers concentrated, precision beams of ultraviolet light directly to the affected areas. Because excimer laser devices don’t target healthy tissues, they can deliver a high-dose treatment of ultraviolet light for faster clearing and a longer remission.
At Easton Dermatology Associates, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.