Keeping In Touch With Your Team
As you become more familiar with how flares affect you, your healthcare team can share ways to manage them at home. They can also help you navigate stronger treatments, if needed. There are multiple treatment options, more than there have ever been. Many have found that talking about these options and trying them has been helpful in ending their suffering.
Home Treatment For Psoriasis
There are some home remedies that may help minimize outbreaks or reduce symptoms of psoriasis:
- Exposure to sunlight.
- Apply moisturizers after bathing to keep skin soft.
- Avoid irritating cosmetics or soaps.
- Do not scratch to the point you cause bleeding or excessive irritation.
- Over-the-counter cortisone creams can reduce itching of mild psoriasis.
A dermatologist may prescribe an ultraviolet B unit and instruct the patient on home use.
Does Psoriasis Get Worse With Age
Most people develop psoriasis between the ages of 15 and 35. While psoriasis may get better or worse depending on different environmental factors, it doesnt get worse with age.
Obesity and stress are two possible components that lead to psoriasis flares. However, the severity of your psoriasis is ultimately determined by your genetics.
The longer you live with psoriasis, the more likely you are to develop psoriasis-related health issues. But psoriasis itself wont necessarily make you look older. People with psoriasis develop signs of aging, just like people without the condition.
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Why Do My Psoriasis Signs And Symptoms Get Worse In The Fall And Winter
Dry air and low levels of exposure to sunlightâs ultraviolet rays likely cause worsening psoriasis symptoms during fall and winter.
Not only are the winter days shorter, but most people tend to spend less time outside. And, when they do brave the elements, theyâre usually bundled up from head to toe. UVB rays are most prevalent at noontime in the spring and summer.
All of these things add up to much less ultraviolet light from the sun, which may ease psoriasis in spring and summer.
Experts believe that ultraviolet light hinders the rapid growth of skin cells that is characteristic of psoriasis. So you may find that your psoriasis is more likely to flare and your plaques worsen when you spend less time in the sun.
Also, the lack of humidity in the air outside and the dry heat in most buildings during the colder months can rob your skin of the moisture it needs. You may be able to alleviate dryness-related psoriasis symptoms by regularly moisturizing your skin and using a humidifier at home. If possible, humidify your office, too.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Dry, thick, and raised patches on the skin are the most common sign of psoriasis. These patches are often covered with a silvery-white coating called scale, and they tend to itch.
While patches of thickened, dry skin are common, psoriasis can cause many signs and symptoms. What you see and feel tends to vary with the:
Type of psoriasis you have
Places psoriasis appears on your body
Amount of psoriasis you have
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Managing Psoriasis And Hair Changes With Age
You may want to color your hair possibly for the first time as you notice your first grays. Be sure your psoriasis is under control before you hit the salon. In general, we recommend not doing any chemical procedures on your hair when you have active psoriasis, says Unwala.
If youre not currently experiencing a psoriasis flare, getting your hair colored is usually considered safe. Just be sure to tell your stylist if you feel burning or pain. Also try to avoid braids or extensions, which pull on hair and irritate the scalp. If hair is too tight, it can make psoriasis worse, because trauma worsens psoriasis, says Unwala.
What Is Psoriasis Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes plaques, which are itchy or sore patches of thick, dry, discolored skin.
While any part of your body can be affected, psoriasis plaques most often develop on the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms, and feet.
Like other autoinflammatory diseases, psoriasis occurs when your immune system which normally attacks infectious germs begins to attack healthy cells instead.
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Risk Factors For Psoriasis That Spreads
Psoriasis is more likely to spread and become severe when it is left untreated. So treatment from a doctor who specializes in psoriasis can significantly reduce the risk that psoriasis will spread, or that the next flare-up will be worse than the last.
A family history of psoriasis, having another immune system disorder, smoking, trauma to the skin, and exposure to many psoriasis triggers are additional risk factors that might cause psoriasis to spread.
It is essential to moisturize the skin because it can speed the healing process and prevent itching. A range of moisturizing lotions that are suitable for psoriasis are available without a prescription.
Tar shampoo and soap may also help. Ingredients that encourage old skin cells to fall off, such as salicylic acid, can reduce the appearance of flaky plaques. However, some of these products can be harsh on the skin, so getting advice from a professional can help determine the most suitable lotion.
Steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, are also safe and effective for most people. They help with itching and can speed healing. Using steroid creams for a very long time may cause side effects, however, so talk to a doctor about the safe use of steroids.
What Are The Types Of Psoriasis
In children, common types of psoriasis include:
Plaque psoriasis. This is the most common type of psoriasis. It causes plaques and silvery scales, usually on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. They can be itchy and painful and may crack and bleed.
Guttate psoriasis. This type often shows up after an illness, especially strep throat. It causes small red spots, usually on the trunk, arms, and legs. Spots also can appear on the face, scalp, and ears.
Inverse psoriasis. This causes smooth, raw-looking patches of red skin that feel sore. The patches develop in places where skin touches skin, such as the armpits, buttocks, upper eyelids, groin and genitals, or under a woman’s breasts.
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How Psoriasis Is Diagnosed
A GP can often diagnose psoriasis based on the appearance of your skin.
In rare cases, a small sample of skin called a biopsy will be sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope.
This determines the exact type of psoriasis and rules out other skin disorders, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, lichen planus, lichen simplex and pityriasis rosea.
You may be referred to a specialist in diagnosing and treating skin conditions if your doctor is uncertain about your diagnosis, or if your condition is severe.
If your doctor suspects you have psoriatic arthritis, which is sometimes a complication of psoriasis, you may be referred to a doctor who specialises in arthritis .
You may have blood tests to rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and X-rays of the affected joints may be taken.
What Injections Or Infusions Are Available For Psoriasis
Recently, a new group of drugs called biologics have become available to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They are produced by living cells cultures in an industrial setting. They are all proteins and therefore must be administered through the skin because they would otherwise be degraded during digestion. All biologics work by suppressing certain specific portions of the immune inflammatory response that are overactive in psoriasis. A convenient method of categorizing these drugs is on the basis of their site of action:
Drug choice can be complicated, and your physician will help in selecting the best option. In some patients, it may be possible to predict drug efficacy on the basis of a prospective patient’s genetics. It appears that the presence of the HLA-Cw6 gene is correlated with a beneficial response to ustekinumab.
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What Type Of Psoriasis Treatment Will I Need
Several treatment options can relieve psoriasis. Creams or ointments may be enough to improve the rash in small areas of skin. If the rash affects larger areas, or you also have joint pain, you may need other treatments. Joint pain may be a sign that you have arthritis.
Your provider will decide on a treatment plan based on:
- Severity of the rash.
- Vitamin A or retinoid creams.
Is It Scalp Psoriasis Or Dandruff
More than half of all psoriasis patients have scalp psoriasis, according to the NPF. Itchy plaques can extend beyond the hairline onto the forehead, neck, and around the ears.
“Most people with scalp psoriasis have it on other parts of their body as well,” says Dina D. Strachan, MD, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
Scalp psoriasis is sometimes confused with seborrheic dermatitis, or dandruff. According to Dr. Strachan, dandruff which causes a flaky, itchy scalp without signs of inflammation tends to itch more than scalp psoriasis. It has a greasy-appearing yellow scale, Strachan says. In contrast, psoriasis whether it’s on your scalp or any other body part tends to have a thick, silvery scale.”
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Metabolic Syndrome And Heart Disease
According to a review published in JanuaryFebruary 2018 in Clinical Dermatology, numerous studies have strongly linked psoriasis to metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions that includes abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The risk of being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome increases with age, and having it ups the risk of heart disease, according to a study published in May 2018 in the journal Translational Research.
We can consider as a risk factor for heart disease, just as we think of family history, smoking, and gender as risk factors, says Unwala. Metabolic syndrome, she explains, involves inflammation in the bloodstream, and psoriasis is an inflammatory disease. Certain drugs used to treat metabolic syndrome, including blood pressure medications, may also trigger psoriasis flares.
The good news is that treating psoriasis can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Treatment of skin results in overall improvement of health, which is especially important for an older population at higher risk of heart disease, says Unwala. Making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, can also help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of metabolic syndrome.
Before Stopping Psoriasis Treatment Talk With Your Dermatologist
Because psoriasis is a lifelong disease, its understandable that you may want to stop treatment at some point. Alwaystalk with your dermatologist before you stop treatment.
Some treatments can be stopped immediately. Others need to be discontinued slowly to prevent psoriasis from worsening .
When psoriasis rebounds, it may become a more serious type of psoriasis. A person who had plaque psoriasis may suddenly have pustular psoriasis or erythrodermic psoriasis.
The best way to prevent a rebound is to talk with your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can tell you whether you can stop the treatment abruptly or slowly. Sometimes, the best approach is to gradually switch to another treatment.
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Coping With Your Diagnosis Age
There seems to be a notion that arthritis only strikes older adults the occasional youre too young to have arthritis comment people get confirms that. But theres little truth behind this notion. PsA usually develops between ages 30 and 50, according to the American College of Rheumatology, and it can affect anyone regardless of age, including children.
Having PsA is a challenging and hard diagnosis to come to terms with. Pain, fatigue, and other symptoms can dramatically affect day-to-day life and this is often difficult for someone who is younger and trying to focus on a career and/or family to cope with. And while you are not rapidly aging, it certainly can feel that way. It is not unusual to mourn for the abilities of the person you used to be.
But not every aspect of living with PsA is negative, and others have found comfort in focusing on the fact that conditions like PsA can help you grow emotionally and gain experience juggling the ups and downs of life. PsA teaches the importance of taking better care of yourself, listening to your body, and being your own advocate.
When the pain feels like it is consuming you, and you feel like you are aging too quickly, remember you have better days ahead.
A Word From Verywell
Thanks to the diligent efforts of science, treatments for PsA are continually improving and as treatments continue to evolve, the number of people in remission will be higher than those struggling daily.
Adjusting Your Psoriasis Treatment Plan With Age
Many medications to treat psoriasis are considered safe as you get older, including corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, tazarotene, acitretin, , methotrexate, and some biologics. Your doctor may be more cautious with topical steroids though, because both aging and topical steroids cause skin to thin. Let your doctor know if your skin appears more transparent or if it bruises easier, has purple spots, or has visible blood vessels.
Most important, make sure your dermatologist knows about every medication youre taking and any other diagnoses youve received. Some psoriasis medications arent safe for people with liver disease, kidney disease, or heart failure, all of which are more common in people over 65. Other medications, including biologics, may not be appropriate if you have certain infections, including hepatitis B, which is more common in older adults who were born before a hepatitis B vaccination existed.
Cancer is also more common with age. Its important to let your doctor know if youve been diagnosed with any kind of cancer. Your dermatologist needs to know, because it will affect treatments for psoriasis, says Unwala.
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Will My Psoriasis Ever Go Away
For the majority of people, psoriasis doesnt go away on its own. Its caused by a combination of genetics and the environment.
In genetically predisposed people, an environmental factor acts as a trigger to unmask psoriasis. In rare cases, behavioral modification like weight loss or smoking cessation may be associated with improvements or complete clearing.
If your psoriasis is caused by a medication, then stopping that medication may improve your psoriasis. Certain high blood pressure and depression medications are strongly associated with triggering psoriasis. Speak to your doctor about any medications youre taking and whether they may contributing to your psoriasis.
Joshua Zeichner, MD, is the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He actively lectures to international audiences and is involved in daily teaching to residents and medical students. His expert opinion is commonly called on by the media, and hes regularly quoted in national newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times, Allure, Womens Health, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and more. Dr. Zeichner has been consistently voted by his peers to the Castle Connolly list of New York Citys best doctors.
Managing Your Professional Life
From People Like You
I was consistently missing work days, and that motivated me to make changes and ask for more. A different treatment and a few workplace improvements led to a more normal work life.
Getting treated as early and effectively as possible can help you to manage PsA so that you can keep working. Without proper treatment, symptoms can affect your ability to sit or stand for long periods, make it harder to perform physical tasks, cause you to miss work, and reduce productivity on the job.
There are also things you can do to make your workday more comfortable and productive.
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Take A Whole Health Approach
When you think about psoriasis and your health, you might focus only on your skin. But you need to take a broader look at your health as you age. Psoriasis can make you more likely to get some kinds of cancer, such as lymphoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. It also can raise your risk of low bone density conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis. And the same is true for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome .
About 30% of people who have psoriasis also get psoriatic arthritis. Thatâs a condition that causes stiff and swollen joints and other issues like fatigue. Psoriatic arthritis often gets worse over time, especially if itâs not treated.
âIf you have psoriasis, itâs especially important to work closely with all your doctors,â says Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, a dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.
If a dermatologist or rheumatologist treats your psoriasis, make sure your primary care physician or family doctor knows what kinds of psoriasis treatments youâre getting and have gotten in the past. Some psoriasis medications may make you more likely to have health problems like infections or cancer. So your doctor may want to keep a closer watch on you. And some medications used to treat arthritis, heart disease, and other conditions may make psoriasis worse.
Living With Psoriasis Throughout Menopause
Menopause can bring on hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and, for women like Ellen Clements, psoriasis flares. Learn how she successfully handled it.
Plenty of women will tell you their psoriasis got worse during menopause. For one woman, hormone changes in her forties spurred her worst skin problems ever. Thats when she learned the real culprit behind her lifelong skin problems was psoriasis.
Ellen Clements, a 64-year-old insurance broker at Willis Group in Boston, was told throughout her childhood and into adulthood that the scales on her skin were from eczema. When she began experiencing menopause symptoms, her skin condition began to show its true nature: She had psoriasis a bad case of it.
When she was a child, Clements doctors told her parents her flaky skin needed prescription cream meant for treating eczema. During her teen years, when scaly areas appeared in her navel , her doctor said she had been wearing her jeans too tight.
Her skin problems became much worse when she started experiencing symptoms related to perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause when hormones begin to fluctuate.
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