28 Sep Psoriasis Dermatology
If you experience scaly skin with general discomfort and possibly itching, you may need psoriasis treatment. Long Beach residents can obtain information and find relief by visiting the psoriasis dermatologists at Ulmer and Wu Dermatology.
Our board certified dermatologists treat many cases a year. In fact, the disease is so widespread that nearly one out of every hundred people in the general population suffers from the unsightly scales and lesions, which can persist for years.
Although there is no cure, a visit to a psoriasis dermatologist could bring you relief, helping you cope with the disease and be more comfortable.
What causes psoriasis? There is a hereditary influence, meaning the likelihood of this condition being the cause of your skin problems is higher if someone in your family has it.
The direct cause is a hyper-activeness in the skin cell production process. Although it is not known what makes this process go awry, we do know that the normal life cycle for skin cells is typically about four weeks, from creation and rising to the skin surface to sloughing off.
However, in psoriasis the production cycle can be 10 times faster! This excessive activity results in unsightly lesions called “plaques,” which are actually thick patches of dry skin, a source of embarrassment for many patients with the disease.
Worse, the unsightliness can increase when a network of tiny blood vessels develop in the affected area to nourish the dividing cells. Suffers often scratch the psoriasis scales, which causes pinpoint spots of bleeding.
Even fingernails can be affected by the condition, becoming pitted or stippled. They may thin, break easily, and separate from the nail bed. Sometimes, patients experience nails that become very thick and yellow, even crumbly. The scalp, too, can be affected.
Weather can have an effect on psoriasis. In the winter, the condition often worsens, most likely caused by dry, heated air. On the other hand, summer sunshine with its ultraviolet B light can bring improvement.
Hormones also seem to play a role in psoriasis outbreaks. Pregnancy can bring relief, while stress can bring on very severe bouts of psoriasis, just as it can cause many other skin disorders, like acne, to flare-up.
Until a cure is found, the goal of psoriasis treatment is to try and mitigate the symptoms of the disease, while making the best possible effort to avoid a recurrence.
However, preventing outbreaks is difficult. Although psoriasis can go into spontaneous remission, typically it occurs intermittently. Sometimes it lasts throughout an individual’s lifetime.
Psoriasis treatment ranges from simply using soothing creams or lotions to applying steroid ointments or creams containing anthralin, which actually slows the rate of production of skin cells. These creams can be used in conjunction with a sun lamp for increased effectiveness.
In addition to these topical treatments, drugs taken orally can bring relief when combined with sunlamp treatment. Methoxsalen is one such drug.
In extreme cases when nothing else seems to work, certain very strong oral medicines may be prescribed. One of these is Etretinate, a Vitamin A derivative. The cancer drug methotrexate has also been proven effective in treating the worst cases of psoriasis.
Don’t suffer needlessly. If you live in Long Beach, a psoriasis dermatologist at Ulmer and Wu Dermatology will be glad to evaluate your case and prescribe a psoriasis treatment based on your individual symptoms and condition.