Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that results in rough, scaly patches, typically on the knees, scalp and elbows. These patches of skin may crack, itchy and burn. This chronic condition affects more than 8 million Americans and about 126 million people worldwide. If you have psoriasis you may be wondering what could be causing it and how to properly manage your symptoms. The team at Zaladonis Dermatology Associates can help.
What causes psoriasis?
Unfortunately, no one knows what causes psoriasis; however, genetics could play a role. This means that if psoriasis runs in your family you may be more likely to develop this condition.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system accidentally attacks healthy skin cells, mistaking them for foreign invaders. This increases the number of white blood cells, which also causes an overproduction of new skin cells, which causes these thick patches of skin to form.
What can trigger a psoriasis flare up?
Psoriasis symptoms come and go, but there are certain factors that can trigger a flare-up. It’s important to recognize these triggers to avoid them as much as possible. Some common psoriasis triggers include,
- Injuries to the skin (e.g. sunburn; open wounds)
- Cold temperature
- Certain medications (e.g. beta blockers)
- Other autoimmune disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
How is psoriasis treated?
While there is no cure for psoriasis there are ways that our dermatologists can help you manage your symptoms and reduce flare ups. Your treatment plan will be customized to your lifestyle, triggers, health and needs. Your treatment plan may involve a variety of lifestyle modifications, as well as medications, therapies and alternative treatment options.
There are both topical and systemic medications that can be used to treat psoriasis symptoms. Topical medications are applied directly to the patches of skin to reduce inflammation and itching while systemic medication typically comes in the form of a pill. Phototherapy, or light therapy, performed by a qualified dermatologist may also speed up healing of psoriatic plaques. If you are dealing with a severe or drug-resistant form of psoriasis, light therapy may be a more effective treatment option.
If you are experiencing symptoms of psoriasis and want to discuss your treatment options, please call Zaladonis Dermatology Associates In Bethlehem, PA today to learn more.