Psoriasis feels like a curse. Can you lift it?
If you are among the millions of Americans with psoriasis, you have likely experienced the frustrations of trying to find effective treatment. You may already know that psoriasis is more than a skin disease, with the potential to affect your entire body and overall health. What you may not know is that quality care is available from the experienced providers you know and trust, right here in Nashville, TN at Jack & Jill Aesthetics. We can help you take control of your skin and your total well being with psoriasis treatment in Nashville.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic condition, characterized by rapid development of skin cells. Although healthy skin creates new cells every day, it also sheds at approximately the same rate. In people with psoriasis, there are areas of skin that make new cells much more quickly than the body can process them. Instead they accumulate, creating raised, itchy, and scaly patches, which are sometimes painful.
Unlike many familiar dermatological conditions, psoriasis symptoms are not always confined to the skin. It is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s natural defenses turn against itself.
A healthy immune system is composed of many different processes, which work together to identify and eliminate threats such as toxins or infectious agents. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system falsely identifies healthy tissues as threats to the body.
In addition to rashes and skin lesions, certain types of psoriasis may involve fever, chills, digestive distress, and more. Some of the most common non-skin effects are joint pain, inflammation, and limited mobility, a condition called psoriatic arthritis.
What are the different types of psoriasis?
The most common types of psoriasis include:
- Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of this condition, known for creating raised lesions covered in whitish or silvery scales. Lesions can vary greatly in size, shape, and number. They may appear anywhere on the body, including soft tissue in the mouth, inside the ear canal, or on the genitals. These patches may itch, hurt, or both.
- Scalp psoriasis is often mistaken for dandruff. It can cause flaking, but unlike dandruff, it is not necessarily oily. Additionally, scalp psoriasis tends to itch intensely, and it is often painful. Another telltale difference is that psoriasis typically extends beyond the hairline, and it is likely to be found elsewhere on the body as well.
- Nail psoriasis is characterized by discoloration, abnormal growth, pitting, or crumbling. It may affect the fingernails or toenails. In some patients, one or more nails may separate from the nailbed, a condition called onycholysis.
- Inverse psoriasis does not cause raised lesions. Instead, it is smooth and red in appearance. This type of psoriasis normally develops on the genitals, groin, or around the breasts. It may be triggered by fungal infections.
- Guttate psoriasis most often affects kids and younger adults. It can be triggered by strep throat or similar bacterial infections. The skin lesions are smaller and more uniform-shaped than those of plaque psoriasis, with a thinner scaly crust. Some patients may experience a single outbreak that resolves without treatment, though guttate psoriasis can become a recurrent problem for others.
- Pustular psoriasis is one of the less common forms of this condition. It begins with redness and tenderness of the skin, quickly followed by the formation of small pus-filled blisters. It is often confined to areas such as the hands or feet, though it can affect large areas of the body. In severe cases, pustular psoriasis may be accompanied by symptoms such as diarrhea, chills, fever and intense itching.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis is the most dangerous and least common of all subtypes. It is characterized by large areas of generalized redness, which may look and feel as if the skin is burned. Affected areas can blister or peel. Other symptoms can include swelling ankles, rapid heartbeat, joint pain, fever, or chills. Because this condition compromises the body’s ability to ward off infection and regulate internal temperature, it is important to see a medical professional right away.
What are my options for medication?
Many Nashville patients ask us how to cure psoriasis. Unfortunately, that is not yet possible. However, the symptoms are manageable with medical treatment and simple lifestyle changes. Additionally, new medications have been shown to be highly effective in controlling symptoms, bringing us one step closer to an actual cure.
At this time, we have a wide variety of medications and therapies available, enabling highly customized treatment to fit the unique needs of each of our patients. Psoriasis may be treated with topical medication, oral or injectable medication, or phototherapy.
Topicals may be prescription or over the counter products selected with the guidance of a medical professional. They come in many forms, such as creams, gels, lotions, shampoos, and more. Common therapeutic ingredients include:
- Coal tar – Helps slow overactive skin cell growth
- Calcitriol – A type of synthetic vitamin D
- Retinoids – A type of synthetic vitamin A
- Steroids – Used topically to control irritation
- Salicylic acid – Helps eliminate scaly buildup and excess skin cells
When topicals are not enough, oral or injectable medications may be prescribed. Your doctor will discuss potential risks and benefits of various formulas. The most common types of medicines include:
- Biologics – These drugs regulate the immune system, repressing overactivity
- Oral retinoids – May have mild benefits in treating psoriasis
- Methotrexate – A powerful immune suppressant, used in chemotherapy, arthritis treatment, and severe cases of psoriasis
Ashley is my favorite aesthetician in Nashville. She knows her stuff and is super personable and friendly. Ask for her when you book an appointment. My skin is always glowing when I leave!
What are the other available forms of psoriasis treatment?
Medication is not the only treatment option, and for many patients it isn’t even the best option for psoriasis treatment in Nashville. If you are looking for an adjunct or alternative to treating psoriasis with drugs, then phototherapy may be the ideal solution. These procedures use the therapeutic power of targeted light energy to heal skin, improve symptoms, and help stop new flares. Phototherapies include:
- UVB (ultraviolet B) – Filtered UV rays provide greater benefit with less risk than exposure to natural sunlight
- Narrow-band UVB – A precision targeted form of UVB treatment
- PUVA (psoralen with ultraviolet A) – Combination treatment using photo-sensitizing medication to enhance the therapeutic effects of UV energy