August is Psoriasis Awareness month!
It’s estimated that over 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. While many people have heard about psoriasis, most have no idea what it is. Since August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, the team at Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery want to give you some information about this skin condition.
What is it?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that shows itself as patches of red, silvery scales on the skin.
When behaving normally, skin grows at a consistent, gradual rate and old skin cells are typically shed every four weeks. When a person has psoriasis, however, they have abnormal lymphocytes that cause this to happen at an accelerated rate. This results in thick patches with dry flakes. It is most common on the elbows, scalp, hands, lower back, and knees. It is seen often in adults, but children can have it, too. Because there are varying severities of psoriasis, many people may have it and be unaware because it is only showing up in faint dry patches. For others, severe psoriasis can leave red, thick, scaly skin across much of their body. In these cases, sufferers often avoid activities like swimming that require exposing their skin.
What causes psoriasis?
Doctors consider psoriasis to be an incurable, chronic skin condition. Psoriasis is not contagious. Exact causes are unknown, but it is believed that an overreaction in the immune system causes the skin to react with rapid cell turnover that leads to inflamed, itchy, and flaky skin. There are likely genetic and environmental factors involved as well. Cold, dry weather tends to make psoriasis worsen. Also, stress, infections, and certain medications can exacerbate psoriasis.
How is psoriasis treated?
At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery we understand the impact of psoriasis of a patient’s life and we treat psoriasis differently for each patient. Mild cases can be treated with creams, ointments, and lotions. Shampoos, solutions, and sprays can be used for treatment on the scalp. Phototherapy (light) treatments are beneficial to many patients. If your psoriasis is more severe, we might prescribe oral medications or biologics which can greatly improve psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis research has led to new treatment options that allow patients clearer skin than ever before.
It’s important for psoriasis sufferers to know they’re not alone. “Many people live with psoriasis and symptoms can be relieved with professional help,” says Dr. Gasch, a board-certified dermatologist at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. “If you think you have psoriasis, I encourage you to see a board-certified dermatologist to learn about your treatment options.” Don’t suffer with psoriasis alone, call the team at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, (503) 297-3440, to make an appointment.