Psoriasis, a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin, is one of the most common dermatologic conditions treated by Johns Creek Dermatology. The growth cycle of skin cells accelerates as a result of the immune system sending out faulty signals. With psoriasis, skin cells mature rapidly, surfacing in only 3-4 days, and accumulate rather than falling off as normal cells do after about a month. There are actually five types of psoriasis, each with particular characteristics. We may need to perform a skin biopsy to confirm our diagnosis.
At Johns Creek Dermatology, we most commonly treat plaque psoriasis, which appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells, typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. However, psoriasis can appear all over the body, even on your eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, skin folds, hands, feet, and nails. Since your skin at each of these sites is different, each may require a different approach. In addition, psoriasis can vary widely among individuals and in its response to treatment.
Although psoriasis is not contagious, it is often associated with other serious health conditions, including psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain and stiffness. At Johns Creek Dermatology, we feel that working together to find a treatment plan to reduce or eliminate your symptoms is critical to overall health and minimizing risk for psoriasis associated disease. We understand each patient’s symptoms are unique, so it’s important for us to assess the different treatment options to establish the right treatment regimen for you. To choose the most appropriate treatment method for you, we consider several factors, including: the type of psoriasis; the amount of skin affected; your age and medical history; the effect on your overall physical condition and emotional state. Psoriasis treatments fall into 3 categories:
- Topical: For mild to moderate psoriasis, usually the first approach in treating psoriasis are medications applied to the skin which are designed to lessen or normalize excessive cell reproduction, resulting in reduced inflammation. Effective topical treatments for psoriasis fall into two categories – over the counter (OTC), and prescription only. Most frequently prescribed are corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory agents which reduce the swelling and redness of lesions. This may be supplemented with prescription topical vitamin treatments to control psoriasis lesions.
- Phototherapy: Moderate to severe psoriasis which is limited to a specific part, or parts of the body typically responds well to phototherapy, which involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis. Treatments are conducted at our office.
- Systemic: We may prescribe prescription oral or injectable drugs for moderate, severe or psoriatic arthritis if your psoriasis greatly affects your quality of life. Most systemic medications work throughout the body, and are also used for patients who don’t improve with, or are unable to endure topical or light therapy. Biologic drugs, which are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion may be prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis that don’t indicate improvement with other systemic treatments. Biologics target specific parts of the immune system that block certain cells and proteins that are a significant factor in developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
At Johns Creek Dermatology, effective treatments are available by Dr. TImani, no matter where your psoriasis is located.