Psoriasis

Psoriasis

Psoriasis Treatment In Gainesville, FL

Living with chronic skin conditions, such as psoriasis, can cause disruption to day-to-day activities. Depending on the type and severity of psoriasis, patients may require the expertise of a medical professional to help alleviate the symptoms and effects of the skin condition. Each Gainesville dermatologist with Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery works with patients with any type of skin condition to create a personalized plan for treatment. Contact us for more information about the wide range of dermatology conditions treated at our clinic or to schedule a consultation.

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin autoimmune condition — in which the body’s immune system becomes overactive and attacks normal body tissues — that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells and results in the development of silvery, thick scales along with dry, inflamed, and sometimes painful patches, as a result of sped-up cell life cycles and dead skin cells.

Scales typically develop on areas of the body such as the joints, elbows, knees, hands, feet, the face, and scalp. It’s less common for scales to develop on nails and the mouth. There are several types of psoriasis which affect more than 6 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Common Types Of Psoriasis

The most common forms in which psoriasis occurs includes plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and inverse psoriasis. Contact us for more information about the types of psoriasis or to schedule treatment with our dermatologists in Gainesville, FL.

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. This form of psoriasis is characterized by periodic flares of well-defined, red-colored patches on the skin, which are covered with inflamed patches with white-silver scales, or plaques. The most common parts of the body in which plaque psoriasis develops include the knees, the elbows, the lower back, and the scalp. The plaques are often itchy and painful to the touch and they may crack and bleed.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a form of inflammatory arthritis which affects approximately 30 percent of individuals who suffer from psoriasis. This chronic inflammatory disease is also an autoimmune disease, which occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the joins and the skin. The faulty immune system response results in joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. The disease may remain dormant until triggered by an exterior influence.

Inverse Psoriasis

Also known as intertriginous psoriasis, inverse psoriasis causes red-colored lesions to form within skin folds of the body, which may appear shiny and smooth. These lesions may develop on the genitals or within areas located near the genitals as well as the upper thighs, groin, armpits, and breasts. Some people who struggle with inverse psoriasis may additionally develop an alternate form of psoriasis, such as plaque psoriasis, in another location of the body.

Guttate Psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is a form of psoriasis which appears as small, dot-like lesions. This form of psoriasis is most commonly developed during childhood or young adulthood and it can be triggered by a streptococcal infection. Guttate psoriasis is the second most common form of psoriasis, following plaque psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 10 percent of people who develop psoriasis often develop guttate psoriasis thereafter.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis is characterized by white pustules — blisters filled with pus, which consists of white blood cells — surrounded by red portions of skin. The symptoms of pustular psoriasis may sometimes resemble an infection; patients may feel ill, lethargic, experience severe itching and loss of appetite, or develop a fever. However, it is not an infection, nor is it contagious. This skin condition may occur on any part of the body, but it occurs most often on the hands and the feet.

Psoriasis Symptoms

Symptoms of psoriasis depend on the psoriasis type and may be different for every individual. Some types of psoriasis may cause lesions to form in small patches, while other types of psoriasis may cover large portions of the body, such as with rosacea. Regarding describing psoriasis symptoms, most people think of the symptoms of plaque psoriasis — rash comprised of scaly plaques which cover reddened portions of skin. However, there are many types of psoriasis, each of which has distinct appearances and symptoms.

Each type of psoriasis is characterized by a rash with a specific appearance and is accompanied by additional symptoms. The most common symptoms patients with psoriasis experience include raised and inflamed patches that are red in color; white or silver scales on red patches of skin; cracking and bleeding on dry skin; soreness around skin with red patches; swollen or painful joints; red spots or lesions on the skin; white pustules; and itching or burning of the skin within the patches and on areas surrounding patches.

The majority of these symptoms occur in cycles for individuals with psoriasis. Psoriasis conditions may cause severe symptoms which are present one week and disappear the next. Sometimes, symptoms of psoriasis disappear completely, but can be brought back by certain triggers. If you have psoriasis and are looking for an experienced dermatologist in Gainesville, contact Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery for treatment options today.

Psoriasis Triggers

As with psoriasis symptoms, triggers which result in the exacerbation of psoriasis symptoms vary widely and are unique to each patient. In addition, triggers which may cause psoriasis to worsen may also change over time. The most common triggers associated with psoriasis include high stress, alcohol consumption, bodily injuries, certain types of prescribed medication, and infection. Dermatologists with our clinic can help you identify and combat your psoriasis triggers — schedule an appointment today.

Psoriasis Severity

Psoriasis can be mild, moderate or severe. Available options for treatment may depend upon the degree of severity of the psoriasis. Severity is typically dependant upon the amount of affected skin on the body. The whole hand — including the palm, fingers, and thumb — is equal to approximately 1 percent of your total body surface area. Severity of psoriasis is also determined by the degree to which the condition affects quality of life.

  • Mild psoriasis covers less than 3 percent of the body
  • Moderate psoriasis covers 3 percent to 10 percent of the body
  • Severe psoriasis covers more than 10 percent of the body

Psoriasis Causes

The exact causes of psoriasis are unknown, however, decades of medical research regarding this autoimmune condition reveal that two key factors — genetics and the immune system — are correlative to psoriasis development. As previously mentioned, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s white blood cells, known as T-cells, mistakenly attack the healthy skin cells. This results in the development of plaques and red, inflamed areas of the skin. Certain inherited genetic traits may also predispose an individual to develop psoriasis. Individuals who have an immediate family member with psoriasis are highly likely to develop psoriasis. But this may not apply to every individual.

How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?

A physical examination and a biopsy may be required to test for psoriasis. In most cases, our dermatologists are able to diagnose the patient with a simple examination of the problem area, as psoriasis symptoms are typically evident to the naked eye. If the symptoms are unclear, or if your dermatologist required confirmation of the diagnosis, they may biopsy a small sample of the affected skin to determine the diagnosis.

Psoriasis Treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating psoriasis. Medications that alleviating psoriasis symptoms in one patient may not provide relief to another. However, the goal is the same for all of our patients; we aim to find psoriasis treatments that alleviate the specific symptoms of each of our patients. Dermatologists will likely recommend the use of the prescribed medications, topical treatments, and dry skin care recommendations.

Topical Treatments

Our topical treatments for psoriasis include topical corticosteroids, retinoids, anthralin, salicylic acid, and deeply hydrating moisturizers, designed to calm the psoriasis symptoms and improve the appearance of the skin as well as relief of discomfort to the affected skin.

Phototherapy

Also called light therapy, this treatment option utilizes natural or UV light to help decrease the severity of symptoms in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. Sunlight kills overactive white blood cells that harm healthy blood cells, causing rapid skin cell growth.

Systemic Medications

Individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis who have not had success with topical treatments may be prescribed systemic medications to either be used alone or for use in conjunction with topical treatments. Systemic Medications include retinoids, which reduce skin cell production, and biologics, which alter the immune system to prevent inflammatory interactions between the immune system and the inflammatory pathways within the body.