How Does Light Therapy Work For Psoriasis
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is a treatment that focuses specific types of light onto the skin.
Your doctor may suggest one or more of the following phototherapy or combination therapy approaches:
Ultraviolet B This is an effective choice and can be delivered as either broadband UVB or narrowband UVB . UVB phototherapy is a good course of treatment for people with moderate to severe cases of psoriasis, patients with plaque psoriasis, those with thin plaques, and people who are generally responsive to natural sunlight.
PUVA For advanced cases of psoriasis, a physician might suggest combining exposure to ultraviolet A light with prescribing psoralen, a light-sensitizing medication that is most commonly administered orally. Taken shortly before light treatment, psoralen seems to boost the therapeutic effect of light on the immune system. People with moderate to severe cases of plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, and psoriasis of the palms and soles are good candidates for PUVA.
The therapy is done in a doctor’s office, psoriasis clinic, or at home with a phototherapy unit. The FDA regulates medical devices used in the application of phototherapy. Laser treatments, using a device known as an excimer laser, can administer highly targeted beams of ultraviolet light to treat select areas of affected skin.
Treatment You Receive At A Dermatologists Office Or Clinic
If the psoriasis fails to clear with treatment applied to the scalp or you have thick psoriasis on your scalp, your dermatologist may recommend the following.
Injections of corticosteroids: Your dermatologist can inject a corticosteroid directly into the scalp psoriasis. While this can be effective, its use is limited to a few times.
Excimer laser and other light treatments: This laser can treat psoriasis in difficult-to-treat areas like the scalp, feet, and hands. When used to treat the scalp, your dermatologist may use a device that looks like a blow dryer. A benefit of using this to treat scalp psoriasis is that this laser treats only the areas that need it.
The drawback to this treatment is that you will need to travel to your dermatologists office or a psoriasis clinic two or three times per week. Each treatment session takes about 10 minutes. Most patients need to continue these visits for several weeks. If your schedule wont permit this, be sure to tell your dermatologist.
While getting these treatments, you may also need to use another treatment at home.
Excimer laser treatment is usually painless, but possible side effects include redness and sunburn-like pain.
Clear Cool Sport Menthol Anti
Frequent washing is important when you have scalp psoriasis. This is to eliminate flaking that frequently accumulates because of dead skin build-up. Thanks to CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Mens Bio-Nutrium 10 ingredient, it activates the scalps natural protection layer to soften psoriasis plaque build-ups. Also enriched with menthol, this shampoo has a cooling effect that minimizes hair discomfort.
Read Also: Ways To Help Scalp Psoriasis
Treatment Of Psoriasis: An Algorithm
ASHA G. PARDASANI, M.D., STEVEN R. FELDMAN, M.D., PH.D., and ADELE R. CLARK, P.A.-C., Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Am Fam Physician. 2000 Feb 1 61:725-733.
See related patient information handout on psoriasis, written by the authors of this article.
Psoriasis is characterized by red, thickened plaques with a silvery scale. The lesions vary in size and degree of inflammation. Psoriasis is categorized as localized or generalized, based on the severity of the disease and its overall impact on the patients quality of life and well-being. Patient education about the disease and the treatment options is important. Medical treatment for localized psoriasis begins with a combination of topical corticosteroids and coal tar or calcipotriene. For lesions that are difficult to control with initial therapy, anthralin or tazarotene may be tried. The primary goal of therapy is to maintain control of the lesions. Cure is seldom achieved. If control becomes difficult or if psoriasis is generalized, the patient may benefit from phototherapy, systemic therapy and referral to a physician who specializes in the treatment of psoriasis.
Best Ointment: Dermaer Psoriasis Medicated Cream
With a thicker consistency, this ointment is choice for dabbing onto smaller spots, ideal for anyone who suffers from random, smaller areas of plaques and scale. It touts 2% salicylic acid in a steroid- and fragrance-free formula thats also hypoallergenic.
The scalp is a common spot where psoriasis can crop up. Admittedly, it may be less visible here than when its on your arms or legs, but the discomfort can be intense. We know, we know, this isnt a cream, but really who wants to apply a cream on their scalp? Well let this one sneak onto the list, especially because it came highly recommended for scalp psoriasis by both of the derms we spoke to.
It contains coal tar, the other FDA-approved ingredient for psoriasis, which, has been shown to calm inflammation in the skin and slow the growth of skin cells, helping with the itch and scaling associated with psoriasis, notes Birnbaum. FYI, to fully reap the benefits, Miller recommends using it two to three times per week and letting it sit on the scalp for at least a few minutes before rinsing.
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Psoriasis Creams And Shampoos
Topical treatments are creams or ointments that you apply directly to the skin. If you have mild psoriasis, a topical treatment may be all you need. For moderate to severe psoriasis, topical treatments can be used in combination with other medications .
There are some remedies you can try at home for mild psoriasis or in combination with prescription medicines. Below are some examples:
Moisturizers relieve dry, itchy, red skin and can be helpful for everyone with psoriasis.
is a low-dose, over-the-counter steroid that decreases itching and inflammation. Its great for very mild psoriasis affecting a small area.
Products with salicylic acid can soften and remove the scale seen in plaque psoriasis.
Coal tar-containing products relieve symptoms and slow the rapid growth of skin cells.
Products with calamine, camphor, or menthol can help itching.
Topical psoriasis treatments that require a prescription include:
Corticosteroids: These medications reduce inflammation, redness, and itching. There are many topical steroids, but two common ones are and .
Vitamin D analogues : These decrease skin growth, which helps control psoriasis. They may be used in combination with steroids. Examples are and .
Calcineurin inhibitors : These medications are used for sensitive areas like the face. They include and . Both of these medications are considered off label for psoriasis treatment.
Keratolytics: These decrease skin growth and break down thick plaques. Examples are and .
Best For Legs: Cerave Sa Cream For Rough & Bumpy Skin
Another one of Birnbaums go-to’s, this also contains salicylic acid, great for reducing those pesky plaques. The addition of lactic acid further boosts its exfoliating prowess, making it a good choice to use on legs to help knock out not only psoriasis, but general scaliness, shaving bumps, and more.
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Causes And Treatment Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not contagious and cant be spread through contact or exchange of bodily fluids.
While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, it’s an autoimmune condition in which a faulty immune system changes the life cycle of skin cells in the body.
This change causes the cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin in just a few days.
These extra skin cells form thick, itchy, dry, discolored patches, called plaques, on the skin’s surface.
Best For Hands: Mg217 Medicated Moisturizing Psoriasis Cream
Providing enough hydration to the hands can be a challenge, as they often are depleted of their moisture with hand washing and other tasks throughout the day. MG217 Medicated Salicylic Acid cream is fast-absorbing and doesnt stain, meaning you can get back to your other tasks within minutes of use.
The fragrance-free lotion is non-irritating and uses salicylic acid to target any psoriasis patches. Provitamin B5, avocado oil, shea butter, and aloe then mix in to provide hydrating relief. Customers rave that it’s one of the few lotions that works for them to relieve dry patches.
Now we know shampoo is not technically lotion, but hear us out. Washing the hair removes the natural oils that help keep the scalp moisturized and healthy. This can further irritate any psoriasis patches already forming on the surface.
This is where Neutrogenas T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo comes in. The product addresses dryness and flakiness on the scalp that can be caused by psoriasis while also keeping the surface hydrated. Included in the formula is coal tar extract, which scientists say works up to four hours after hair washing to help the scalp shed dead skin cells.
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Hydrocortisone Creams And Ointments
You can buy a mild corticosteroid like hydrocortisone without a prescription. For a few small patches of psoriasis, a mild hydrocortisone works well. If you have more than a few small patches, youll likely need a prescription corticosteroid to see results.
Whether OTC or prescription, this medicine works quickly to:
Reduce the itch
If you have cracked or bleeding skin, an ointment will likely feel better than a cream. Ointments tend to be more soothing and less irritating than creams.
MoisturizerThis may help anyone who has psoriasis because psoriasis makes the skin dry and scaly. Moisturizer helps to seal water in the skin, which can:
Help your skin heal
Dermatologists recommend applying moisturizer once a day, and more often when your skin is really dry. When shopping for a moisturizer, you want to select a:
Heavy cream, ointment, or oil rather than a lotion
Product that you like and will use
Oil can be especially healing, but its also messy. To reap the benefits of oil, try applying it before bedtime.
Moisturize before washing
For best results, you want to apply your moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing and after washing your hands.
Scale softenersYoull find OTC products and prescription medicines that contain salicylic acid. This active ingredient helps to:
Remove and soften scale
Removing the scale helps other medicine that you apply to your skin to work better.
What’s The Best Way To Control Psoriasis
Everyones case of psoriasis is different, which means treatment will be different for every person. However, some of the best treatments for psoriasis seem to include a combination of lifestyle changes, home remedies, and prescription medications. This article contains information on treatments and medications. Using this article in combination with a consultation from your doctor can help you find the best way to control psoriasis.
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Topical Treatments For Psoriasis
These are drugs you rub directly on your skin. Along with a good moisturizer, theyâre usually the first thing your doctor will suggest, especially for mild to moderate psoriasis. There are over-the-counter and prescription options.
Topical treatments for psoriasis come as ointments, creams, or foam and include:
Steroid creams. These slow down immune cells in your skin. They can ease swelling and redness. Mild steroid creams are available over the counter. Youâll need a prescription from your doctor for something stronger. Steroids come with side effects and shouldnât be used on sensitive areas like your face or genitals. They can burn or thin the skin. Use them exactly the way your doctor tells you.
Salicylic acid. This can soften and thin scaly skin. But it can also irritate your skin if you leave it on too long. It might weaken your hair follicles and cause temporary hair loss, too. The body can absorb salicylic acid if you put it on large patches of skin.
Calcipotriol . This is a strong form of synthetic vitamin D. Itâs known to control overactive skin cells. Your doctor might pair it with a steroid cream.
Tazorac is available gel or cream and applied one and twice daily. it is ot recommended for those who are pregnant or breast-feeding or intending to become pregnant.
Best Budget: Cortizone 10 Anti
Itchiness can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of psoriasis, making it hard for you to focus on your everyday life. Cortizone-10 Anti Itch Lotion specifically targets that symptom to provide long-lasting relief to irritated skin. Included in the product is maximum strength hydrocortisone, a leading ingredient in treating itchiness. The hydrocortisone is combined with seven different types of moisturizers and two vitamins to hydrate the skin while helping it heal.
Customers say the lotion is the holy grail of aiding their psoriasis because its non-drying, compared to other anti-itch creams on the market, and it relieves their red and irritated skin patches.
Read Also: Plaque Psoriasis All Over Body
Understand The Differences In Injectable Medications
Is the injection a good move or a bad one? asked one MyPsoriasisTeam member.
There isnt a simple answer to that question. There are various injectable medications used for different types of psoriatic disease. Your doctor may have to run some medical tests before determining which injectable medication is appropriate for you. Injectable medications for psoriasis may include corticosteroids, immunomodulators, or biologics.
A corticosteroid like Kenalog can be delivered into the joint of a person to treat psoriatic arthritis. It can also be locally injected subcutaneously under the skin. Immunomodulators like methotrexate can be injected subcutaneously. Biologics may be prescribed in conjunction with methotrexate or as stand-alone treatment. Humira is one of the most popular biologics, and it is also injected subcutaneously. Other biologics, such as Remicade , are delivered through an IV.
Psoriasis Drugs: Biologic Medication
Biologic drugs are protein-based medicines that are derived from living cells cultured in a laboratory.
These medicines are administered through an injection or IV and target parts of the immune system.
Biologics work by blocking the action of a specific type of immune cell and proteins in the immune system that play a major role in the development of psoriasis.
The following medicines are examples of biologics:
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Treatment For Scalp Psoriasis A Look At Various Treatments
Psoriasis is a chronic disease afflicting about one in ten Americans. The disease manifests itself as dry, flaking skin covered with silvery scale overlying thick, white scales. Psoriasis affects men, women, and children equally. Although there is no cure, there are several treatments for psoriasis available.
Corticosteroid medications are usually the first choice treatment among the various steroid topical agents now available to treat psoriasis. Corticosteroid topical medications have both anti inflammatory and antipruritic properties. These compounds are available in several strengths, ranging from short-term use up to class III, which blocks production of a certain chemical called cortisol. Short-term use may ease symptoms, but long-term use may cause serious liver damage and increase the risk for infection. Long-term use may also lead to thinning of the skin, permanent scarring, and increased susceptibility to infections.
Milder forms of systemic Lupus erythematosus may also be treated with steroids. Systemic Lupus erythematosus is a progressive, life-threatening condition characterized by inflammation of the entire body. Treatment may include the use of systemic corticosteroid, which prevents inflammation by preventing the release of excessive inflammatory chemicals by the immune system. Systemic Lupus erythematosus frequently results in permanently inflamed scalps.
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What Complementary And Alternative Treatments Help Psoriasis
Complementary and alternative therapies are sometimes used to improve symptoms of psoriasis.
Although most of these approaches are safe, you should talk to your doctor before trying any new treatment or technique.
Examples of complementary and alternative methods commonly used to treat psoriasis include:
Diet and Nutrition Some people report improved symptoms by altering their diets or taking certain supplements. You can also try avoiding specific dietary triggers that may increase inflammation and worsen your symptoms.11
Sunlight Exposure to small amounts of sunlight can reduce some symptoms of psoriasis. But too much sun can worsen outbreaks and increase your risk of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about how much sunlight exposure is safe for your situation.
Daily Baths Soaking in mineral water baths may help hydrate and soften the skin. You can add colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts to bathwater to help calm inflamed skin. But stay away from hot water and harsh soaps, which can worsen your symptoms.
Moisturizer Some people report fewer symptoms when they apply moisturizer to affected areas. Ointments can help lock in moisture better than creams.
Yoga and Meditation These practices can clear your mind and reduce stress, which may ease symptoms of psoriasis.
Exercise Physical activity increases the production of chemicals known as endorphins, which improve mood and energy. Exercise can also help you sleep better and reduce anxiety.
Read Also: Will Cortizone 10 Help Psoriasis
Drugs Commonly Prescribed For Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that can occur anywhere, but tends to affect the elbows, knees and scalp. If you are one of the 7.5 million Americans who have it, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Symptoms typically include red patches with silvery scales and small scaly spots that can bleed and crust. Skin can itch and become sore. Some people also notice changes in their nails.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. In the most common form of psoriasis, your immune system causes skin cells to grow faster than your body can shed them. This leads to an accumulation of skin cells into plaques or patches.
In most cases, psoriasis cycles through periods when symptoms worsen and then resolve. These flares can last for weeks to months. Between flares, your disease may go into remission. Medications can help manage symptoms when they occur and decrease the frequency of flares.