August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. During this month, it’s the right time to let others know about this condition, what it causes, and how to get help for it. Effective strategies for improving the appearance of psoriasis are available, though many of those living with it do not recognize that help is available.
What Is Psoriasis?
The National Psoriasis Foundation states there are about 8 million people in the U.S. who have this condition. Psoriasis is a type of skin disease that creates red and scaly patches on the skin. These tend to hurt or itch. They can occur anywhere but are more common on the trunk, knees, elbows, and scalp. Going a day or more without thinking about their itchy, painful skin is difficult for a person with psoriasis. It can be bothersome, painful, and embarrassing.
Many people have flares of psoriasis. That is, they have times when there are more patches or more inflammatory symptoms than other times. Flares can last for weeks or months, causing more pain. The condition can also enter into remission and stay dormant for some time.
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are treatment options that can significantly reduce inflammation and pain associated with it.
How to Care for and Treat Psoriasis
Treatment for psoriasis depends on the level of inflammation and how the symptoms impact a person’s life. In the most severe cases, a person may struggle with open sores that pose an infection risk. In these cases, seeking medical treatment is critical.
A number of medications for psoriasis also exist. These include:
- Corticosteroids, including ointments and creams applied to the areas, can help to soothe the pain and inflammation.
- Vitamin D analogs, a type of synthetic Vitamin D that works to slow down skin cell growth, the underlying cause of patchy and scaly skin
- Retinoids, a type of gel or cream, can be applied to the area to reduce irritation and increase sensitivity to light.
- Light therapy is a treatment that may help to reduce the presence of the buildup of skin tissue.
- Biologics are injected medications that work to adjust the way the immune system works, helping to disrupt the disease cycle and reducing symptoms.
- Methotrexate, a type of oral medication, works to suppress inflammation and reduce the production of skin cells.
- Cyclosporine, another oral medication, is taken for more aggressive forms of the disease and works to suppress the function of the immune system.
- Steroids are beneficial to those who have smaller patches, which can be treated individually.
- Xtrac is an excimer laser for the scalp, hands, and feet.
Other treatment options may exist as well. Typically, doctors will work to determine which type of treatment is best for you, but it may take trying a few different types to find one that is specifically effective. What’s most important is turning to your doctor for help. Even if you think you don’t need treatment, your doctor can ensure your skin remains healthy and scar-free with early intervention.
Summertime Help for Psoriasis
The summer months are the ideal time to work on treating this psoriasis, because it responds well to sunlight. While you still need to minimize too much exposure to the sun directly as a result of UV rays and sunburn, getting enough sunlight can make patches of psoriasis fade away.
This is the time of the year to get sun exposure. You can further improve your skin by using aloe extract creams which have been shown to help reduce redness and scaling by reducing inflammation.
Now Is the Time to Get Some Help
Psoriasis awareness is important at all times of the year, not just during August. Whether you or a loved one is battling the sting of this skin condition, treatment for psoriasis is available and can be very effective. To learn more about the treatment options, schedule an appointment with us today and protect your skin.