Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes scaley patches of inflamed skin, typically on the knees, elbows, torso, and head (facial and scalp psoriasis.) The impact of psoriasis is more than skin deep. This skin condition may impact a person’s emotional well-being and physical health. Fortunately, Psoriasis treatment can help.
Take the first step towards clear and healthy skin. Read on to learn more about psoriasis, including its symptoms and causes, and discover the available treatments for combating this condition.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by inflammation. It affects 2% of the US population. Psoriasis results from rapid skin cell growth in the epidermis (the top layer of skin.) During normal cellular turnover, skin cells are produced and slough (shed) off every 24 to 30 days.
With psoriasis, the production of skin cells is accelerated, up to 10 times faster than normal. New skin cells are produced every 3 to 4 days. This abnormally fast production prevents the skin cells from maturing and sloughing off properly. Rather, the skin cells build up, creating raised plaques of red skin with flakey, white scales.
Psoriasis is caused by an over-reactive immune system. Specifically, white blood cells, known as T-lymphocytes, (which fight infections), overproduce inflammatory molecules. This abnormal activation of the immune cells in the dermis (the second layer of the skin) causes the rapid production of skin cells.
The exact reason for this is not fully understood. Genetics play a significant factor. 40% of people with psoriasis will have a close relative with the disease.
Psoriasis is not contagious. It cannot be spread from one person to another.
Flare ups are often activated or exacerbated by a variety of triggers. Triggers vary from person to person and may include:
• Skin injury like cuts or sunburns
• Scratching or picking at the infected area (especially with scalp psoriasis)
• Infections, like strep throat
• Certain medications like lithium or steroids like prednisone
• Environmental factors, like cold or dry weather
• Lifestyle choices like consumption of tobacco or alcohol
Psoriasis affects 7.5 million people in the US. Psoriasis typically starts in late adolescence but can occur in people of all ages, including infants. While psoriasis can affect people of any skin color, it is most common for people with white skin.
There are several kinds of psoriasis. The most common type is plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis Vulgaris. This type is characterized by patches of raised skin (plaques) that are red and inflamed. These plaques are covered with silvery-white scales.
Plaque psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body. However, it most often appears on the knees and elbows, the torso (especially the lower back), and the head, particularly scalp psoriasis and facial psoriasis.
Scalp Psoriasis: Research suggests nearly half of people with plaque psoriasis have scalp psoriasis. This manifests as fine scaling with a white or silvery sheen. It can affect the entire scalp, the hairline, and the skin around the neck, ears, and forehead.
Facial Psoriasis: Half of the individuals with psoriasis will experience the disorder on their face at some point. Facial psoriasis is typically mild but can be widespread, appearing on the forehead, neck, ears, and around the eyes. Like scalp psoriasis, facial psoriasis is associated with psychological impacts on a person’s social life.
Inverse Psoriasis: This type involves smooth patches of red, shiny skin. Inverse psoriasis lacks the scales associated with plaque psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis typically occurs where skin rubs together, like the armpits, under the breasts, the groin area, and skin folds. Inverse psoriasis is triggered by sweating and friction (rubbing.) Fungal infections can also trigger this type of psoriasis.
Nail Psoriasis: Psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails. Nearly half of people suffering from psoriasis see changes to their nails, such as: pitting or denting in the nails, pain, and tenderness around the nails, and color changes
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA): This condition refers to the presence of both psoriasis and joint inflammation (arthritis). Research indicates 30% of people with psoriasis will also develop psoriatic arthritis. Most of those people will develop psoriatic arthritis ten years after developing psoriasis. Symptoms include Painful or stiff joints, especially the fingers and toes. Stiffness is most noticeable after waking up or after driving.
- Swelling in the fingers and toes.
- Pain in the Achilles area, the bottom of the foot, or spine.
- Uncommon types of psoriasis include:
- Pustular psoriasis: Red skin with Pustules (pus-filled bumps.)
Erythrodermic Psoriasis: A potentially serious form of psoriasis causing red, fiery skin across most of the body.
Guttate Psoriasis: Small, red spots on the body. Occurs most often in children.
Psoriasis is classified into three groups: Severe, moderate, and mild. One-third of afflicted individuals have moderate to severe psoriasis. When psoriasis afflicts 5-10% of the body, it is considered moderate. When it afflicts 10% or more of the body, it is considered severe.
For reference, 1% of the body is the size of a person’s hand.
While moderate psoriasis may only affect 5 to 10% of the body, that small area can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. This is especially true for facial psoriasis, scalp psoriasis, or genital psoriasis.
Psoriasis is not eczema. Eczema does not involve the rapid production of skin cells. Instead, with eczema, the epidermis (upper layer of skin) is porous, and allergens, microbes, pollutants permeate through the skin and activate the immune system in the dermis. This results in Itching. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is associated with asthma and often starts in infancy.
Learn more about eczema: https://www.windsordermatology...
Psoriasis can affect more than your skin. The inflammation it causes can also affect the joints, leading to psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis can also cause inflammation in the arteries, specifically the coronary arteries (the vessels supplying blood to the heart.) Research links moderate to severe psoriasis in adults with an increased rate of heart attacks and strokes. Thus, the “heartbreak of psoriasis,” a famous slogan from the 1960s, is not just a figure of speech. Psoriasis can literally harm your heart!
Fortunately, data reveals that people with moderate to severe psoriasis who undergo professional psoriasis treatment decrease their incidence of heart attacks and strokes.
Psoriasis is more than a physical ailment. It may also impact your mental well-being. This skin condition is correlated with an increase in depression, anxiety, and thoughts about suicide.
Because psoriasis can affect both your health and well-being, it is essential to see a dermatologist for proper psoriasis treatment.
The Psoriasis Center of New Jersey has been involved in the research & education of all forms of psoriasis treatment since 1990. Our knowledge and experience in treating psoriasis are unparalleled.
It is essential that patients receive the proper psoriasis treatment. Different patients respond differently to specific therapies. In selecting an appropriate treatment method from the Psoriasis Center of New Jersey, our dermatologists curate a customized treatment plan tailored to the location and severity of psoriasis, along with the patient’s medical history.
There is no cure for psoriasis. Fortunately, there are several psoriasis treatments that are safe and effective for improving plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, facial psoriasis, scalp psoriasis.
PSORIASIS CREAMS | TOPICAL THERAPY
Topical therapy, or skin creams containing corticosteroids, remain the first line therapy for mild to moderate psoriasis localized to specific areas of the body. These creams improve psoriasis by reducing inflammation.
ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT THERAPY
Present in natural sunlight, ultraviolet light has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help clear psoriasis from the skin.
Several forms of phototherapy are available. The type selected is determined by the severity and location of the patient’s psoriasis and the patient’s medical history.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF LIGHT THERAPY
Narrowband UVB: This treatment is safe, highly effective, and drug-free. The patient stands in a specially designed cabinet containing UVB light tubes. The affected areas of the body are exposed to the UVB for a short time (from seconds to minutes). The effects generally become noticeable after seven to ten treatments.* A typical course is thirty-six prescriptions. Narrowband UVB has no increased risk of skin cancer.
PUVA (Psoriasis Ultraviolet A): Prior to treatment, patients ingest a photosensitizer tablet. Seventy-five minutes later, the patient stands in a specially designed cabinet containing UVA bulbs, and the affected areas of the body are exposed to the UVA for a short time. Windsor Dermatology has two PUVA units for greater patient convenience in scheduling treatment.
Hand/Foot PUVA and UVB: PUVA and narrowband UVB treatments can be delivered in a targeted manner for patients with psoriasis or eczema of the hands and/or feet, sparing unaffected areas.
Excimer Laser: Laser Treatment with the PHAROS EX-308 laser delivers concentrated, high-dose ultraviolet B treatment to psoriatic plaques. Because treatment is limited only to affected areas, the laser may safely deliver higher treatment doses than conventional UVB, leading to faster clearance of psoriasis. Laser treatment for psoriasis is covered by most major insurance plans.
Phototherapy Treatments from Psoriasis Treatment Center of New Jersey are safely administered by licensed medical professionals. The cost is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.
Phototherapy treatments are performed three times per week, and most patients become clear after 10 weeks.* To accommodate our patients’ busy schedules, treatment sessions are available as early as 6 am, as late as 5 pm, and on Saturdays
Biologics are medications that block a specific part of the immune system involved in psoriasis. Different medicines target different parts of the immune system. Your dermatologist will determine which drug is right for you. Biological therapies commonly used for psoriasis include Skyrizi, Tremfya, Talz, Cosentyx, Ilumya, Humira, Siliq. Cimzia, and Enbrel.
Biologically therapy is delivered via subcutaneous injection. Many biologics can be administered from home.
ORAL MEDICATION FOR PSORIASIS
Otezla (apremilast) is a prescription medication for the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The pill acts as a PDE4 inhibitor, blocking the enzyme responsible for the inflammation associated with psoriasis.
We at The Psoriasis Treatment Center of New Jersey published an article in Journal of Drugs and Dermatology. We evaluated 100 patients who averaged 15% body surface area and after 6 months of safe therapy the average Body Surface Area was 1.5% a 90%, in fact over 50% were completely clear. This data was from two years ago since then newer and ever safer treatments for plaque psoriasis have been FDA approved which 65% clear within 12 weeks, 85% are 90% clear within 12 weeks, and scalp psoriasis 75% clear within 12 weeks.
FINDING A PSORIASIS SPECIALIST IN NEW JERSEY
Windsor Dermatology is the home of the Psoriasis Treatment Center of New Jersey, the state’s first complete facility for advanced psoriasis clinical research. Since 1985, our Medical Director, Dr. Jerry Bagel, has been at the forefront of psoriasis patient care, treatment, and clinical research, making the Center and Windsor Dermatology one of the most respected clinical settings in America for psoriasis treatment.
"All Staff are friendly and courteous; they go above and beyond to make sure you’re well taken care of. Dr. Jerry Bagel is tremendously helpful in his knowledge and expertise of Psoriasis. He has helped me for the better and for that I will always be grateful.
PSORIASIS TREATMENT NEAR ME
Get help for your Psoriasis from the premier dermatologists in New Jersey. Contact the Psoriasis Treatment Center of New Jersey, today. Reach out online by completing the form below or call 609-443-4500.
Jerry Bagel , Bradley S. Stolshek , et al. “Evaluation of Patient-Reported Outcomes with Etanercept in Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis Patients After Therapy With Apremilast.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. April, 2020. LINK.
Alexis AF, Blackcloud P. “Psoriasis in skin of color: epidemiology, genetics, clinical presentation, and treatment nuances.” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(11):16-24. LINK.