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Main Street Cosmetic & Skin, devoted to all aspects of health care have Doctors trained to cater to all needs of the health and well being of your body. The skin is one of our main focus areas.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition where people develop a buildup of rough, dry, dead skin cells. The skin can look like raised, reddish-pink areas covered with silvery scales and red borders.
Psoriasis most commonly occurs on the scalp, elbows, knees, groin, and lower back. It is considered a long-lasting or chronic disease that “comes and goes,” and may show up as a few spots or involve large areas. It is not contagious — you can’t spread it from one part of your body to another, or from person to person.
You can develop psoriasis at any age, though it usually comes on gradually, in both men and women. Doctors believe psoriasis may be an inherited disease that can be triggered by emotional stress and allergens.
Signs and Symptoms
The following are symptoms of psoriasis:
• Raised skin lesions, deep pink with red borders, and silvery surface scales. The skin may be cracked and painful in severe cases.
• Blisters oozing with pus, which usually show up on the palms or soles of the feet
• Pitted, discolored, and thickened fingernails or toenails
• Itchy skin in some people
At this point there is no known cause of Psoriasis. They do know that people who have it produce more skin cells than normal. In saying that it appears that a faulty immune system seems to be involved: In people with psoriasis, T cells (a kind of white blood cell) mistakenly attack skin cells. The new skin cells move to the outer layer of the skin too quickly, where they build up and form thick patches.
There seems to be a genetic component — you are more likely to develop psoriasis if a close relative also has the condition. Several underlying factors may trigger the condition or flare-ups, including
• Emotional stress
• Skin injuries or sunburn
• Streptococcal (strep) infection, with symptoms sometimes appearing 2 weeks after strep throat
• Cold or dry air
• Certain drug, such as gold, lithium, beta-blockers
• Heavy alcohol use or smoking
Consultation with your Doctor
One of our Doctors trained in this area, will examine your skin and ask questions about your physical and emotional health. You may need a blood test to check levels of calcium, zinc, and certain other elements, and may require a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Our Doctors may suggest one or several different treatment options.
• Creams and lotions for your skin
• Referral for Phototherapy, or ultraviolet light therapy
• Changes in your diet
• Vitamin or mineral supplements
Creams for your skin include:
• Corticosteroids — reduce inflammation and are often prescribed for mild to moderate psoriasis.
• Salicylic acid — helps slough off dead skin cells. May be used along with other creams or coal tar.
• Retinoids, drugs made from vitamin A — Tazarotene (Tazorac) helps control symptoms by slowing down how fast skin cells grow and are shed. Tazorac is often used with a corticosteroid and with light therapy. Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant within three years should not use it.
• Calcipotriene (Dovonex) — a kind of synthetic vitamin D3 that slows down the rate of skin cell growth. May be used by itself or with other creams or light therapy.
Systemic drugs, used for more severe symptoms, are taken by mouth (orally), injection, or infusion. All may have serious side effects when they are used for a long time. They include:
• Methotrexate — helps block the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. May also be used to treat psoriatic arthritis. Using it for a long time can cause serious side effects, so your doctor will monitor you.
• Cyclosporine — suppresses a faulty immune system.
• Oral retinoids — Acitretin (Soriatane) slows down the production of skin cells. Symptoms may come back after you stop taking this medication. It can cause severe birth defects, so women must not get pregnant for at least 3 years after taking it.
• Biologics — help suppress overactive parts of the immune system. These drugs may be given when traditional drugs don’t work, or when someone has psoriatic arthritis. They are given by injection or infusion (IV).
• Alefacept (Amevive)
• Etanercept (Enbrel)
• Infliximab (Remicade)
• Ustekinumab (Stelara)
• Adalimumab (Humira)
From the Pharmacy
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — reduce inflammation and pain, especially for psoriatic arthritis. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
• Petroleum jelly — Softens skin, helps it retain moisture.
• Coal tar ointments and shampoos — relieve symptoms. Help light therapy to work better.
• Capsaicin cream — for pain and inflammation relief. May reduce redness, scaling. Main side effect is a brief burning sensation.