Has your psoriasis been acting up recently? Does it seem to like the winter more than you do? Don’t panic; that’s normal. Psoriasis is often worse in the winter when the air is dry and when there is less sunlight. Both warm, humid air and sunlight will improve psoriasis. (Go take a vacation in Miami. Doctor’s orders!)
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder characterized by red skin lesions often covered by a thick silvery scale. Living with psoriasis can be difficult and uncomfortable. The severity of the disease varies from person to person. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that are covered by most insurance plans.
If your psoriasis is well-controlled, there are many at-home remedies that you can try to help alleviate the associated itch and redness. Applying a daily dose of moisturizer to your skin can be helpful in preventing outbreaks of psoriasis. Moisturizers will prevent skin from drying out, itching and reddening, as well as aid damaged skin to heal more quickly. Coal tar and glycolic acid are other over-the-counter remedies that you can try. These work by slowing the growth of skin cells, and they reduce scaling and inflammation. If those don’t work, come see us, and we can prescribe topical steroids and/or topical vitamin D.
For more severe cases, various biologics are available. Enbrel, Humira, and Stelara are injectables that have been available for some time. Otezla is a new FDA approved systemic biologic that is now available and is taken orally.
For localized hard-to-treat areas such as the scalp, elbows, hands, knees, and feet, our office offers FDA-approved excimer laser treatments that deliver ultraviolet light B (UV-B ) to the localized affected skin. This helps control mild to moderate psoriasis without harming the surrounding healthy skin. Patients typically undergo 2-3 treatments per week. Noticeable improvement may be seen in as few as 8-10 treatments depending on the severity of the affected skin.