What is Psoriasis

What is Psoriasis?

When something causes psoriasis to flare, skin cells grow abnormally fast ­– in just days instead of weeks. The result is a buildup of cells and thick patches of red skin with silvery scales that can flake off like dandruff. The areas may be itchy or sore and can occur anywhere on the body, though the most common areas for psoriasis to develop are the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet.

There is no cure, but it’s important to have your Advanced Dermatology dermatologist or other provider specially trained in psoriasis to help you manage its symptoms and minimize potential complications.

What Causes Psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis isn’t known, but the body’s own immune system is involved in this chronic disease. It’s not contagious, so you can’t catch it from someone or give it them. Genetics do play a role in the development of psoriasis.

What Triggers Psoriasis Flares?

Psoriasis can be unpredictable, coming and going through cycles, flaring at times, and sometimes subsiding or even going into remission. Triggers that can cause flares include endocrine factors (such as pregnancy, calcium and vitamin D levels), stress, trauma, infections (in particular strep throat and HIV) and certain medications. If you are able to identify the trigger, avoid it to minimize psoriasis flares.

Are There Different Kinds of Psoriasis?

There are numerous types of psoriasis which appear differently and may affect different parts of the body. Your ADCS physician will diagnose and treat all types of psoriasis to limit their effects.

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type and is characterized by dry, red and raised lesions (called plaques) that are covered with silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. The itchy and sometimes painful plaques often form on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back, though they can appear anywhere on the body.

Guttate Psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is the second most common form and is primarily seen in children and young adults. It looks like small red and scaly dots on the torso, arms, legs and scalp. Guttate psoriasis can be triggered by a strep infection.

Nail Psoriasis

Nail psoriasis can affect fingernails and toenails with various symptoms such as tiny dents in the nails called nail pittingdiscoloration, crumbling nails and nails that separate from the finger or toe. These nail symptoms may appear along with other forms of psoriasis.

Inverse Psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis mainly affects areas where skin touches skin, such as under the arm, in the groin, behind the knee and other body folds. It looks like red, inflamed skin that may be smooth or shiny. It is common to have another type of psoriasis somewhere else on the body at the same time as inverse psoriasis is present.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis is uncommon but often develops quickly. It’s characterized by pus-filled blisters on red, tender skin, and may appear on just hands and feet, or in larger areas.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common, but requires immediate medical attention. It emerges as an intensely itchy or burning red rash that can cover the entire body.

Psoriasis Goes Beyond the Skin

Psoriasis Goes Beyond the Skin

There are several other disorders often seen with psoriasis, including psoriatic arthritis, which affects up to 25% of psoriasis sufferers. It’s a painful form of arthritis which causes red, stiff, swollen joints and can eventually result in joint deformity if not properly treated. Symptoms may be mild to severe and any joint can be affected.

Some of the other problems associated with psoriasis include cardiovascular disease and liver disease, so it’s important to control psoriasis for many reasons. An Advanced Dermatology physician will diagnose your psoriasis and may work with your primary or specialty care physicians to monitor your overall health.

How Does Advanced Dermatology Treat Psoriasis?

There are many helpful options to treat psoriasis. What is prescribed for you will depend on which type of psoriasis you have, where it is located and how severe it is.

  • Basic treatment techniques include moisturization and maintaining a healthy lifestyle including a well-rounded diet, exercise and reduced stress.
  • Topical therapies are applied to the skin, and may include steroids, retinoids, coal tar, and others.
  • Light-based options like Narrowband-UVB phototherapy
  • Oral medications are used such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, and others.
  • Laser treatments work effectively for some patients. By using technologically advanced hand-held devices, these methods deliver the light to the targeted area only, without exposing healthy skin. They are relatively quick with no discomfort. Some patients feel a warmth in the treated area after therapy, like a mild sunburn.
  • Injectable treatments can result in a noticeable improvement in the symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and include Enbrel®, Humira®, Remicade®, Stelara® and some that are currently in clinical trials.

Lasers for Psoriasis Treatment

An ADCS medical professional will discuss options with you to develop the right treatment plan to deal with your particular symptoms.

Excimer® Laser Treatment

The Excimer Laser provides safe and effective relief from plaque psoriasis anywhere on the body. Treatments are relatively quick and may be given two or three times a week for a period of time. Most patients begin to see improvement within three or four treatments. Clearance of the plaque is often seen after 10 to 20 treatments, and average remission times of 3.5 to six months have been reported. Results vary for each person.

PHAROS® EX-308 Laser Treatment

The Pharos Laser is ideal for treating mild to moderate plaque psoriasis. It creates a concentrated, but painless, beam of ultraviolet light that is delivered though an adjustable spot-size hand piece that rests directly on the skin. Many patients enjoy clearer skin after 10 or fewer brief sessions over four to six weeks, and experience long remission times.

XTRAC® Velocity Laser Treatment

The The XTRAC Laser procedure has a shorter treatment time, improving psoriasis symptoms in as few as six to ten treatments. It works even on thick plaque psoriasis. Using a refined, super narrowband UVB light it targets only the plaque and limits exposure to healthy skin.

Clinical Trial

If you suffer from psoriasis you may be eligible to join current Research Studies.


Clinical Trial
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