Over The Counter Psoriasis Treatment Considerations
If you believe you have psoriasis, you should visit your medical provider for a diagnosis before trying to address the problem with over-the-counter products. For severe cases, prescription medications and other clinical interventions may be needed. Your health care provider can discuss treatment options with you and recommend the best products for your needs. He or she can also give you tips and advice regarding skin care to lower your likelihood of future outbreaks. Only use psoriasis treatment products as directed by the manufacturer unless you receive other advice from a medical provider.
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 its on your scalp or any other body part tends to have a thick, silvery scale.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Guttate Psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis may not be preventable. However, complications or further flare-ups may be reduced by avoiding anything that triggers a psoriasis outbreak. For example, anyone with psoriasis should try to minimize all forms of skin trauma, such as scratching or vigorous rubbing, which may lead to new psoriatic lesions on previously unaffected areas. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
The association between streptococcal infections and guttate psoriasis cannot be overemphasized.
- Early detection and treatment of such infections may prevent an acute flare-up of the skin disease. Samples should be obtained and cultured in patients who are susceptible to psoriasis and have a sore throat.
- Some doctors advocate early antibiotic therapy of any sore throat in individuals who are susceptible.
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Your Medication May No Longer Be Up To Par
Psoriasis can be mild, moderate, or severe. The treatment your doctor recommends will be based on the severity of your condition. Also, since psoriasis can change over time, you may need to switch to a new therapy at some point even if its working for you now.
Topical treatments are typically used first in mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. These include corticosteroids, retinoids, or calcineurin inhibitors. Prescription moisturizers or those containing coal tar or salicylic acid may also be recommended to promote skin cell turnover.
If topical treatments arent doing enough for your symptoms, your doctor may suggest oral or injectable medications. These include biologics, retinoids, and immunosuppressants.
What Is The Treatment For Guttate Psoriasis
Usually, this type of psoriasis goes away in a few weeks without treatment. Simple reassurance and moisturizers to soften the skin may be sufficient care. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the outbreak and the individual’s preferences. For example, applying topical steroids, although effective, could be bothersome because the outbreak occurs over a large portion of the body in most cases of guttate psoriasis.
- Antibiotics: If someone has a history of psoriasis, the doctor will most likely take a throat culture when that individual has a sore throat. If the culture results are positive , then starting immediately on antibiotics for the infection is very helpful.
The doctor may prescribe a short course of artificial light therapy . Broadband ultraviolet B or narrowband ultraviolet B light may be used.
It is probably advisable to avoid the ultraviolet lights provided in tanning salons.
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Dealing With A Psoriasis Flare
If you have psoriasis, you may choose your wardrobe and even your activities based on how active your disease is. The inflamed, itchy, scaly plaques that cover your skin can make you feel self-conscious and affect the way that others react to you, too.
Our expert dermatologists at Specialists in Dermatology in Houston, and The Woodlands, Texas, offer cutting-edge, effective psoriasis therapies including topical and oral medications, and biologics to clear your skin quickly and beautifully. If you do have a flare-up, here are a few tips on how to stay comfortable until you can get treatment.
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Tips For Managing A Psoriasis Flare
When youre in the middle of a psoriasis flare-up, you just want something that will relieve the itchiness that comes with those thick, red, scaly patches of skinand you want it fast.
Maybe your psoriasis decided to flare after a period of stress or illness. But sometimes a flare arrives for no discernible reason at all. No matter what brought it on, a flare-up doesnt have to be a catastrophe. With a little preparation, you can manage it relatively easily.
Here, dermatologists share some of the best strategies for dealing with your next psoriasis flare.
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When In Doubt Consult Your Dermatologist
Once the subject of genital psoriasis has been broached with a health care provider or a patient navigator, thatâs not the last roadblock on the path to a diagnosis.
Rivera also comments that cases of misdiagnosis from gynecologists, while not the norm, may happen. âThere have been cases of patients, specifically women, who arenât diagnosed , going to their gynecologist when an issue in the genitals occurs, says Rivera. âThe gynecologist, especially those not familiar with psoriasis, sometimes is unsure of what is going on or might misdiagnose the issue as an STD.â
Rivera says that many of those contacting the Patient Navigation Center about genital issues are concerned that their condition may be related to a sexually transmitted disease based on conversations with their primary care provider or gynecologist. If you find yourself in a similar situation, Rivera says it might be worth asking your doctor for a skin biopsy to test for psoriasis, especially if you have an existing diagnosis for psoriasis. That will save you the headache and cost associated with bouncing from one provider to another until you receive the correct diagnosis.
As a practicing physician, Dr. Van Voorhees agrees that confusion can stem from doctors who might be working with a limited knowledge base when it comes to psoriasis.
Treat At The First Sign Of A Flare
Dont wait until your symptoms are really affecting you to start treating a flare-up: As soon as you notice a change in your skin that could signal an oncoming flare , its time to act, Dr. Stein says. Apply a topical steroid as directed and try to take it easy.
Also, its important not to stop treatment until youre completely free of symptoms, Dr. Stein says, even if the flare appears to be going away. In my opinion, it comes back faster if its not completely clear to begin with, she explains.
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Whats The Treatment For It
There is the suggestion that it will go away on its own in a few weeks to a couple of months. But that can feel like a lifetime when youve got a flare-up. In a similar way to plaque psoriasis, you can also treat guttate psoriasis using medications or phototherapy. Talk to your doctor about the types of medication you could be able to use, such as steroids or hydrocortisone. Alternatively, you could also try several over-the-counter options like coal tar soaps and shampoos, vitamin A and plenty of moisturizing.
What Are The Complications Of Psoriasis
People with severe psoriasis have an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, obesity, some types of cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and other immuneârelated disorders, and liver and kidney disease.
The condition can affect the nails and joints, and can seriously affect someone’s emotional and social wellbeing. It may affect their ability to work, go to school or participate in physical activities.
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Skin Injury And Infection
A wound or infection can cause your immune system to react by producing more skin cells and triggering inflammation in your body leading to a flare-up of your psoriasis symptoms.
For example, if you get a cut on your finger and it becomes infected with bacteria , it could lead to an increase in your psoriasis symptoms due to the immune system reacting against the bacteria.
Certain Lifestyle Habits Can Worsen Your Symptoms
Certain lifestyle habits can also lead to psoriasis flare-ups, such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and being inactive. If you smoke, ask your doctor for tips on how to quit for good.
Regular exercise is good for your overall health. It can also help keep inflammation down. You might be afraid to exercise at first due to the heat and sweat, but as long as you take a shower immediately after, you should be able to avoid a flare-up.
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Home Remedies For Psoriasis
There are many home remedies in the treatment of psoriasis. It is very important to keep the skin moist to avoid dryness. Petroleum jelly, vegetable shortening, or olive oil can be used as moisturizers. Take fewer showers and baths to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils. Adding salts, oil, or finely ground oatmeal to a bath can soothe the skin. Heliotherapy can be effective in controlling psoriasis. There is also evidence that increased body mass is associated with psoriasis and that heavier individuals are more difficult to treat.
What To Think About
Some medicines used to treat psoriasis can cause serious side effects. You and your doctor will discuss how long to use treatments that could cause harm. You will also need to see your doctor regularly and may have blood tests while using some medicines.
Many oral or injected medicines used to treat psoriasis arent safe during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking any medicines.
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How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed
There arent any special tests to help doctors diagnose psoriasis. Typically, a dermatologist will examine your skin and ask about your family history.
Youll likely be given a diagnosis based on this physical exam.
In some situations, doctors will remove a small sample of the skin and examine it under a microscope. This might allow them to get a better look at the affected area and make a more accurate diagnosis.
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Possible Causes For Psoriasis Remission
The goal of psoriasis treatment is to reduce the symptoms and hopefully end the flare. If treatments are successful, psoriasis may go into remission.
Even without treatment, psoriasis may disappear. Spontaneous remission, or remission that occurs without treatment, is also possible. In that case, its likely your immune system turned off its attack on your body. This allows the symptoms to fade.
This doesnt mean that you wont ever have another flare. Watch for symptoms of psoriasis so that you can begin treating them if they reappear.
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Grenz Ray Climatotherapy Visible Light Goeckerman And Pulsed
Evidence is insufficient to recommend grenz ray therapy for the treatment of psoriasis.
Sufficient evidence exists to recommend climatotherapy for the treatment of psoriasis.
Evidence is insufficient to recommend the use of visible light as a more effective treatment for psoriasis, except in nail psoriasis.
Sufficient evidence exists to recommend Goeckerman therapy for the treatment of psoriasis.
Pulsed-dye laser can be considered for nail psoriasis.
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How Psoriatic Arthritis Flares Are Diagnosed
Because PsA flares dont have a set definition, the diagnosis is made in large part through communication with your doctor. The first thing we do is we look at the history: whats been happening before the flare, Dr. Husni says. We want to know what the triggers are for your disease and we want patients to see the connection.
A skin flare is a bit easier to identify, and a diagnosis would be made with a rheumatologist and dermatologist. We work very closely with the dermatologist its important that they are involved in the treatment decision, Dr. Husni says.
PsA flare-ups can be so hard to pin down that both professionals we talked to suggested keeping a brief diary of your symptoms to help your doctor diagnose when they are happening, and why.
I recommend that people keep a symptom diary over time so that they can keep track of the conditions that might have preceded their flares in their lifetime, so that they can respond more proactively in the future, Crow says. Unfortunately often its most clear in retrospect. You can use our ArthritisPower app to track your symptoms and disease activity and share your results with your doctor.
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Protect Your Skin From Psoriasis Outbreaks
Skin damage is a known trigger for psoriasis flares. Scratches, scrapes, cuts, and burns all can set you up for a psoriasis outbreak on the area of damaged skin.
Below are tips for preventing skin damage and psoriasis outbreaks:
- Keep your skin moist. Dry skin is more prone to injury.
- Wear protective clothing when doing yard work or household chores.
- Treat itching with lotions and creams — scratching feels good at first, but it damages skin.
- Consider skipping a day between shaves, changing razors frequently, or using an electric razor, if facial psoriasis is a problem.
Once you have a handle on what causes your psoriasis to flare, itâs time to talk to your doctor. There may not be time to go through every detail in a short visit, so the most important information is your response to psoriasis treatment.
- Have you applied topical therapies and taken other drugs consistently? Your treatment log will let you answer with certainty.
- Are there associations between your other medications and your psoriasis outbreaks? Discuss any possible psoriasis triggers with your doctor.
- Are your psoriasis treatments working? Your drawings or photographs over time will show the details that memory alone canât.
Many aspects of psoriasis are outside your control. Tracking your psoriasis triggers and outbreaks can help you understand your own psoriasis pattern and could lead to changes that reduce your symptoms.
What To Do If Your Medication Triggers Your Psoriasis
Psoriasis that is caused or worsened by a medication can look similar to regular psoriasis, so it can be hard to know if a medication is to blame for your flare. Its important to keep in mind that other things like stress or an illness can also trigger psoriasis.
If you think a medication is making your psoriasis worse, the first step is to talk to your provider. Its important that you dont stop any medications on your own. Your provider will help you come up with a plan to stop the medication and start a new one if needed.
In some situations, just stopping the medication will improve or reverse the psoriasis flare. In other situations, you will need to treat the psoriasis even after stopping the medication. If this happens, your provider will help you come up with the best treatment plan for you.
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The Success Of Biologics
I dont mind sticking with biologics because they have been the best treatment for me. When I tried corticosteroids or light treatment, my psoriasis always flared up again the moment the treatment was stopped. Being on biologics, because the treatment is consistent as I inject once per month, psoriasis doesnt have time to badly break out before a new injection is applied.
What have you done while on biologics to help with potential psoriasis flare-ups? Perhaps your psoriasis has flared regardless. How have you coped with this? Have you sought new treatments or are you waiting to be seen? Let me know in the comment section below.
Most Importantly Be Patient With Yourself
Dont worry if you still havent found your flare-up silver bulletpsoriasis symptoms and triggers can vary immensely from person to person, so different treatments will work better for different people.
That said, if you find that your flares are becoming more frequent or increasingly difficult to treat, Dr. Newsom says its probably time to check in with your dermatologist for guidance around how best to treat your condition.
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Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Keeping your skin lubricated can go a long way in preventing or worsening dry, itchy skin caused by a psoriasis flare-up. It can also help reduce redness and heal the skin, making your flare-up easier to manage.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends using heavy creams or ointments that lock in water. Look for moisturizers that are fragrance-free or alcohol-free. Fragrances and alcohol can actually dry out your skin.
If youre looking for a natural or cost-effective solution, you can use cooking oils or shortening to keep your skin moisturized. When in doubt, ask your dermatologist for a recommendation.
Take shorter showers with lukewarm water to help protect your skins moisture. Be sure to use fragrance-free soaps. Always apply moisturizer after showering, washing your face, or washing your hands.
Add oil to bathwater if you prefer taking baths, or are looking to soothe dry, itchy skin. Soaking in Epsom or Dead Sea salts is recommended for itchy skin. Be sure to limit your bath time to 15 minutes and moisturize immediately afterward.
Try putting your creams or moisturizers in the refrigerator. This can help soothe the burning sensation that often accompanies the itching during a flare-up.