Psoriasis: Symptoms and treatment options | Health - Hindustan Times
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Psoriasis: Symptoms and treatment options

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Oct 22, 2022 04:12 PM IST

Psoriasis can affect men, women and children of all skin types and colours. There is no known cause of psoriasis and there is no all cure for the disease but with the modern day medicines and some simple lifestyle changes, one can easily manage the triggers and symptoms of psoriasis.

Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder that not only damages the skin but also causes mental discomfort for the patients where the skin cells grow at a very rapid rate and the skin is not able shed them as quickly. This results in pile up of dead skin cells on the top layer of the skin resulting in itchy, painful and scratchy plaques which can cause inflammation in organ and tissues and can be genetic and be passed down through families.

Psoriasis: Symptoms and treatment options (Image by Eszter Miller from Pixabay )
Psoriasis: Symptoms and treatment options (Image by Eszter Miller from Pixabay )

Psoriasis can affect men, women and children of all skin types and colours. There is no known cause of psoriasis and there is no all cure for the disease but with the modern day medicines and some simple lifestyle changes, one can easily manage the triggers and symptoms of psoriasis.

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Symptoms:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon at The Esthetic Clinics, suggested that if you have been noticing any of the following signs and symptoms on your body, then it is time to consult a good dermatologist for treatment options:

· Raised skin plaques that are scaly

· Dry skin that bleeds through the cracks

· Burning, itching and soreness on the affected skin

· Discoloured patch of skin

· Swelling or pain in joints

· Pitted or cracked nails

Treatment options for Psoriasis:

Dr Rinky Kapoor recommended, “Keep in mind that psoriasis is an auto immune condition and therefore cannot be cured but it can be effectively treated.” She advised the common options for treatment for psoriasis that include -

1. Topical treatments: These include drugs that you can apply directly on the skin. They are usually the first line of treatment that most doctors suggest. These come in the form of lotions, foams and creams. They are used for treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. The common options include topical steroids, corticosteroids which slow down the work of immune cells over the skin. Overuse of topical corticosteroids can cause skin thinning therefore only use them as per the guidelines.

2. Biologics: Biologics are the newer types of drugs used for the treatment of psoriasis and are made from living materials. These come in the form of injections and alter the immune system. This helps in reducing skin inflammation. Biologic systemic treatments are used to treat moderate to serious psoriasis and arthritis caused because of this disorder. The common biologics include Adalimumab, Bimekizumab, Brodalumab, Tofacitinib (oral), Ustekinumab etc,

3. Oral retinoids: Retinoids help reduce cell growth. Oral retinoids such as acitretin are used to treat pustular psoriasis that causes red patches on the skin.

4. Dithranol: This is the age old treatment for plaque psoriasis. This medicine is applied on the affected areas of the skin and works by reducing the production of skin cells. However, it is only a short term treatment and you need to be careful when applying it as it can burn if it is too concentrated.

5. Salicylic acid: This skin treatment helps soften the skin and reduces scaliness. However, the major side effect is that it might cause the hair follicles to weaken.

6. Immunosuppressants: As the name suggests these work by suppressing the immune system and they are usually applied to the sensitive areas of the skin affected by psoriasis such as face, groin and skin folds.

7. Coal tar ointment and shampoo: This is also one of the oldest treatments for psoriasis. Coal tar reduces inflammation, itching and scales on the skin but it makes the skin more sensitive to the sunlight and dryness.

8. Phototherapy: Sunlight has been used to treat this type of skin condition for years. Phototherapy treatments use both natural and artificial light (UV) to target the fast growing skin cells and slow them down. This treatment is done as an outpatient procedure at a doctor’s office. Light therapy is often used in combination with other treatment methods for faster relief.

Dr Rinky Kapoor added, “Follow the directions given by your dermatologist for psoriasis treatments. Do not try to overdo the treatments as it may do more harm than good. Be aware of what is triggering the psoriasis flareups and if certain skin care products might be aggravating the skin condition. Talk to your doctor if you want to try an alternative treatment or home treatments.” According to her, some common natural psoriasis treatments are:

· Salt bath

· Use of colloidal oatmeal

· Aloe vera

· Apple cider vinegar

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