Psoriasis is a disease that affects a surprising amount of people. It’s estimated that 2-4% of the global population are affected. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease, but we’ve put together a list of psoriasis treatment options we believe can help, and that you should know about.
4 Psoriasis Treatment Options
1. Topical Treatments
If you have any form of psoriasis, this is probably the first option you’ve turned to. Many people who have a mild form of the disease will only need a topical treatment, and even those with more moderate forms use these in tandem with other treatments.
Topical applications can range anywhere from over the counter to prescription. The most mild form of these are your average moisturizers, and though they don’t heal psoriasis, they help to prevent scaling from excess skin and irritation caused by dryness. Further over-the-counter topicals include salicylic acid and coal tar, both of which help to prevent scaling and are also available in shampoo form.
Prescription topicals come in a wide variety, including anthralin, vitamin D analogues, and calcineurin inhibitors. We use these for slowing skin growth and preventing plaque build-up. Other prescriptions like topical corticosteroids and topical retinoids are psoriasis treatment options used for reducing inflammation.
2. UV/Light Therapy
Many people with psoriasis experience worse symptoms during the winter, and while we often associate this with a drier climate it also has to do with reduced exposure to sun (UV) light. It has been proven that daily and low amounts of exposure to sunlight reduce inflammation and scaling from skin buildup.
There are also many clinical forms of UV light available, plenty of which we can use in tandem with other treatments. These include broadband and narrowband UVB phototherapy which come from artificial light, and excimer lasers which can focus solely on affected skin.
3. Oral/Injected Treatments
Much like topical psoriasis treatments, oral/injected treatments can come in many forms. Even retinoids can be taken in ingested forms. Where these treatments differ though is by directly addressing the cause of psoriasis; the patient’s overactive immune system.
Treatments like cyclosporine and biologics work to suppress the immune response to skin cells which causes scaling, while others like methotrexate help to slow skin production and halt inflammation. There are also several other medications such as hydroxyurea and thioguanine which can be used as alternatives.
4. Alternative and Diet treatments
As previously mentioned many moisturizers and lotions can aid in treating psoriasis, and lotions containing aloe vera can further aid in dealing with common symptoms. Further support from natural sources can be as simple as adjusting your diet.
Foods high in saturated fat like red meat, dairy, and processed food may cause further inflammation in the body. By switching them out for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like omega-3 found in fish or certain nuts you can reduce this symptom. Another contributor to flare-ups is alcohol, and by limiting intake or removing it entirely from your diet you can help to reduce symptoms.
Psoriasis affects many people, but you don’t have to let it affect you. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, please reach out and contact the staff of Ingrid E. Trenkle, MD. Schedule a consultation with our experts and find out which psoriasis treatment is right for you.