Quick Overview of Psoriasis Symptoms and Treatment

Reviewed: January 12, 2016
By eHealthIQ
Quick Overview of Psoriasis Symptoms and Treatment

Psoriasis is a medical condition that affects the skin cell growth your body. If you are suffering from psoriasis, your skin cells will start to quickly multiply on the surface of your skin. This rapid growth causes scales and patches of thick and dry skin patches covering the affected area. While psoriasis can be an embarrassing and painful condition, it can usually be controlled with the proper treatment.

Since psoriasis affects the skin cells, symptoms of the condition can be different for every person. Most people suffering from psoriasis will have patches of scales on their skin that are either silver or red in color. The affected area of the skin may also be extremely itchy or burn from the excess cell growth. Psoriasis dries out the skin and you may see your skin crack and bleed.While psoriasis usually occurs on the skin, it can also appear on the fingernails and toenails. Your nails will start to thicken and appear ridged and pitted if you are suffering from nail psoriasis. The nails may also become discolored or fall apart easily.

Psoriasis can be treated by stopping the excess skin cell growth and removing the scale patches on the skin. Topical treatments are the most common form of treatment for mild forms of psoriasis. Topical treatments come in the form of a cream or ointment that is spread on the affected area every day. The active ingredients in the cream or ointment will slow down the skin cell growth while also reducing the inflammation caused by psoriasis. Some of the most popular topical treatments for this condition are corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues and retinoids.

For more severe cases of psoriasis, a combination of topical treatments and light therapy or oral medication is used. Light therapy exposes the skin to ultraviolet A or ultraviolet B light to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis by slowly killing T cells in the skin. Once these T cells start to die, then your skin will start to return back to normal. The two most common forms of light therapy for psoriasis are exposure to direct sunlight or UVB phototherapy. Oral medications are also available to reduce symptoms, but they are not so commonly used because of their harsh side effects.

In addition to the traditional medical treatments for psoriasis,  lifestyle changes can help the healing process. Lifestyle changes will not cure psoriasis, but they will make flare-up and remission less likely to happen. Using moisturizer, limiting sun exposure, showering every day and avoiding alcohol are all great ways to prevent psoriasis.

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