Psoriasis Treatments

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Psoriasis Treatments

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the skin, causing discomfort and often impacting the emotional well-being of those living with it. At Lisa Franklin we are keen to shed some light on what psoriasis is, its effects on the skin, available treatments and address common questions surrounding this often-misunderstood condition.

Psoriasis is a skin disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, leading to an overproduction of skin cells. This accelerated growth results in the formation of raised, red, and often scaly patches on the skin’s surface. These patches, known as plaques, can appear anywhere on the body and vary in size.

Redness and Inflammation

Psoriasis causes redness and inflammation due to the increased blood flow to the affected areas. This is often accompanied by a feeling of warmth in the affected skin.

Scaling and Flaking

The overproduction of skin cells leads to a buildup of scales, which can flake off. These flakes are often silvery-white and can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment for individuals with psoriasis.

Itching and Pain

Psoriasis is frequently accompanied by itching, which can range from mild to severe. In some cases, the affected skin may crack and bleed, leading to pain and discomfort.

Nail Changes

Psoriasis can also affect the nails, causing pitting, discolouration, and abnormal nail growth.

While there is no cure for psoriasis, various treatment options aim to manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. Treatment plans are often personalised based on the severity of the condition, and they may include:

Phototherapy

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can help slow the growth of skin cells. Phototherapy is often administered under medical supervision.

Topical Treatments

Prebiotics, corticosteroid creams, retinoids, and moisturisers can be applied directly to the affected skin to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Systemic Medications

For more severe cases, oral or injectable medications that target the immune system may be prescribed to manage symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including managing stress, avoiding triggers, and adopting a balanced diet, can help in reducing flare-ups.

Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is a medical treatment that involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet (UV) light under controlled conditions. This approach is commonly used to treat various skin conditions, including psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder characterised by the rapid buildup of skin cells, leading to the formation of thick, red, and scaly patches.

The scientific basis for using phototherapy in the treatment of psoriasis lies in its ability to modulate the immune system and slow down the excessive growth of skin cells. There are different types of phototherapy, but the two main forms used for psoriasis are ultraviolet B (UVB) and psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy.

UVB light has wavelengths in the range of 290 to 320 nanometers. When the skin is exposed to UVB light, it penetrates the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and slows down the abnormal growth of skin cells. UVB therapy works by suppressing the immune system’s hyperactivity, particularly the malfunctioning immune response in psoriasis that leads to inflammation and excessive skin cell production.

UVB therapy can be administered in various ways, including through broad-band UVB or narrow-band UVB sources.

PUVA involves the combination of a light-sensitising medication called psoralen with UVA light, which has longer wavelengths (320 to 400 nanometers). Psoralen can be applied topically or taken orally, and it makes the skin more sensitive to UVA light. After psoralen is administered, the patient is exposed to UVA light, which penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB. The combination of psoralen and UVA helps to slow down the rapid turnover of skin cells and modulate the immune response.

 

Reducing Inflammation

UV light has immunosuppressive effects, helping to decrease the inflammatory response in the skin seen in psoriasis.

Slowing Down Cell Growth

Phototherapy slows down the excessive growth of skin cells, preventing the buildup of thick, scaly patches.

Modulating the Immune System 

By influencing immune cells in the skin, phototherapy helps to regulate the immune response and reduce the abnormal activity associated with psoriasis.

 

No, psoriasis is not contagious. It is an autoimmune condition and cannot be transmitted through physical contact.

 

Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, various treatments can effectively manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with the condition.

 

Triggers vary from person to person, but common ones include stress, infections, certain medications, and changes in weather.

 

While there is no specific psoriasis diet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding triggers like alcohol and tobacco may help manage symptoms.

 

Offer understanding and emotional support. Educate yourself about psoriasis, and encourage your loved one to follow their prescribed treatment plan.

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