Psoriasis is a chronic condition that leads to red patches and plaques with an overlying thick silvery-white scale on the skin. The elbows, knees, and scalp are common areas of involvement, but any location can be affected. It occurs when the immune system reacts abnormally in the skin and causes it to grow differently than normal skin. It is often itchy or painful. Even though it is not contagious, it frequently causes social embarrassment or isolation.
Psoriasis can also affect the joints (psoriatic arthritis). It often begins as swelling or pain in a few joints and stiffness in the morning. Over time it can damage the joints and lead to severe functional problems. Let you dermatologist know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms as it is likely to change your treatment.
There are numerous treatment options available for psoriasis. Topical medications (cream, ointments, or foams that you apply to your skin) are frequently used and are sometimes enough to control psoriasis in milder cases. Light therapy (phototherapy) can be helpful for some patients. Systemic medications (pills or injections that work throughout the entire body) are sometimes needed for more moderate or severe forms of psoriasis. Biologic therapies are one form of systemic treatment that are particularly effective in the appropriate patient.
Dr. David Fieleke and the team at Cornerstone Dermatology have extensive experience treating psoriasis and can help determine which approach will be best for you.