No better time to discuss psoriasis than during Psoriasis Awareness Month- August!
Since psoriasis affects at least 2 in 100 people, you probably know someone or are related to someone who has it, if you don’t have it yourself. It is a chronic, autoimmune condition that waxes and wanes. Some people may have seasonal flares, others flare with stress or changes in environment, or after infections such as strep.
Psoriasis can be more than a skin condition. A quarter of people with psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis, which is important to treat so it doesn’t damage the joints. Treatments can also target the skin and joints.
Treatment options have exploded in the last decade. Treatments range from topical options, light therapy (phototherapy), systemic pills or injections. It depends on how much and which body areas are affected, which treatment may be best for someone. We are here to help review treatment options with you or your loved one.
For those who would like to also explore natural treatments, here is a review of some effective alternative options for the skin. There are treatments for psoriasis that have been used for thousands of years. Coal tar creams and shampoos can be very helpful. It can be used by itself or in combination with other treatments. It works best when left on the skin for longer periods as in the form of a cream or for 3-5 minutes when in a shampoo. Just be aware it can stain your clothes a bit!
The ocean! The ocean is truly therapeutic for psoriasis. While it might flare other skin conditions, it can help many people with psoriasis. Soaking and frequency are key! Soak the affected areas as long as you can, and do it as many days as possible. BUT don’t risk a sunburn because psoriasis can flare terribly from a sunburn!
Light (photo)therapy is a safer alternative to using the sun to treat psoriasis. Many people find they improve in summer months, and phototherapy is a way to mimic these benefits without the significantly increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. It is typically done in a doctor’s office three times per week for 2 to 4-month increments.
But please remember if you also have joint symptoms of possible arthritis too, don’t ignore them, as treatment is critical to protecting your joints from damage.
If you or someone you know suffer from psoriasis- you don’t need to! There are too many options, now more than ever, to help the quality of life, and we can help navigate those options!