According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, psoriasis affects more than 7.5 million adults in the U.S. That’s over 3% of the population. Some people you might have heard of who have psoriasis include: Kim Kardashian West, LeAnn Rimes, Cyndi Lauper, Kris Jenner, and Jon Lovitz.
Living with psoriasis can be difficult, but there are more ways to treat it than ever. Plus, there are things you can do at home to manage your psoriasis. Working with your dermatologist, it is definitely possible not just to live with psoriasis, but to thrive!
Treatments for Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatments aren’t one-size-fits-all. You may have to work with your doctor to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Some of those options include:
Topical treatments. Topical steroids are commonly used as a first-line treatment for psoriasis. These creams slow down excessive cell production and reduce inflammation. A prescription-strength corticosteroid can help with psoriasis symptoms. Other topical treatments include non-steroid creams containing anthralin, synthetic vitamin D3, or vitamin A.
Phototherapy. Phototherapy is a non-invasive light-based treatment that has been shown to slow the growth of new skin cells caused by psoriasis. At Arizona Dermatology we offer both Ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy and Psoralen + Ultraviolet A phototherapy (called PUVA). With PUVA, you take a light-sensitizing oral medication along with the UVA exposure. Phototherapy has been shown to be an extremely effective treatment when used consistently.
Systemic treatments. Systemic psoriasis drugs are taken by mouth in liquid or pill form or given by injection or infusion. Common systemic drugs for psoriasis are Soriatane (Acitretin), a synthetic form of vitamin A; cyclosporine, an immunosuppressive; and the enzyme inhibitor methotrexate. Some systemic drugs that have been approved for other conditions may be prescribed “off label” to treat psoriasis.
Biologic treatments. If other treatments haven’t worked well or have produced side effects, your doctor may prescribe a biologic treatment. Because psoriasis is a disease of the immune system, biologics work by interfering with immune function. Different biologics target different aspects of the immune system. They are given by injection or infusion. New biologics become available as they are tested and approved by the FDA. You can see which biologics are currently available here.
Ways to Control Psoriasis Without Medicine
There are non-medical things you can do to keep your psoriasis under control or manage the symptoms that come with it. These work best when used in conjunction with medical treatment.
Nutrition. Following an anti-inflammatory diet may help with psoriasis, which is an inflammatory condition. Foods that contribute to obesity also tend to be inflammatory, so following a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight may help your psoriasis.
Complemetary Therapies. Some psoriasis patients have found complementary therapies like acupuncture and massage to be beneficial.
Aloe Vera. Aloe vera plant gel may reduce the scaling and redness caused by psoriasis. Talk to your doctor about using aloe vera, especially if you are using other topical medications.
Stay Cool. Use warm, not hot water to control itching. In hot weather, seek air conditioning or cool off with ice packs. Moisturizing your skin can help, too.
We want people with psoriasis in Arizona to know that treatments do exist and our doctors are here to help. If you or someone you love has psoriasis, give us a call.