Psoriasis is a relatively common, often frustrating skin condition characterised by rashes, flakiness, and itchy patches of skin. Because psoriasis can be triggered by several factors, including genetic markers that up to 10% of the population carry, it can be difficult to treat this skin condition by yourself. However, at River Region Dermatology and Laser in Montgomery, AL, our skilled skin experts can diagnose and create a psoriasis treatment plan that will help you achieve clear skin.
How Long Does Psoriasis Treatment Take?
The speed of your psoriasis treatment will depend on the specific type of psoriasis you have, the severity of your skin condition, and the treatment plan you are using. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis and is commonly treated with topical corticosteroids. If this type of treatment is used for your skin condition, you may start to see relief from symptoms in as little as two to four weeks.
That said, psoriasis can be triggered by various factors and can appear in most areas of the body. While you are treating one outbreak, it’s possible for another to start if you encounter the same trigger for the condition. For many people, treating psoriasis is a continual process. It may take months or years to manage your current condition and psoriasis can come back at any point after successful treatment because the skin condition is considered chronic.
What Are Common Treatments?
There are a variety of treatments medical dermatologists use to treat psoriasis. The goal of these treatments is to stop or slow the growth of skin cells and to remove scaley, itchy patches of skin. Most treatments are geared toward treating the symptoms of this skin condition rather than preventing future flare-ups since predicting triggers can be difficult. A few of the most common treatments for psoriasis include:
Topical therapy generally refers to creams or ointments that are applied directly to the skin to treat and control flares. The most common topical therapy is corticosteroids, such as prescription-strength hydrocortisone, which can be applied to virtually all areas of the skin and can treat large areas of the skin. Sometimes stronger corticosteroids are used on different areas of the skin or may only be used sporadically for treatment.
Other topical therapy can include Vitamin D analogues to slow skin cell growth, retinoids to help turn over new skin cells, calcineurin inhibitors to reduce plaque and inflammation, salicylic acid to reduce scaling skin, or other treatments that address symptoms of psoriasis. Some treatments may not be appropriate for you based on other health conditions, such as allergies or pregnancies.
Light therapy can be beneficial as an initial conservative treatment. Sometimes light therapy is combined with topical or oral medications to make the treatment more effective. Exposing the skin to natural and artificial light can directly treat affected skin cells. Light therapy can include timed exposure to sunlight, UVB broadband, UVB narrowband, and PUVA treatments.
Other medications can also be used to treat psoriasis and it’s common for these medications to be combined with other treatments. Medications can include steroids, methotrexate, cyclosporine, or other biologics that address cellular renewal and overactive immune systems. Because other medications may have a higher degree of other medical interactions, they may not be recommended for your treatment unless necessary.
Are There Helpful At-Home Treatments?
In general, at-home treatments for psoriasis are not powerful enough to effectively treat or control flare-ups. That said, using aloe vera or aloe extract cream is known to help soothe the skin to reduce redness, itching, and inflammation. Your dermatologist may recommend specific over-the-counter lotions or gels to soothe your skin during your treatment process.
It’s also common to implement other at-home techniques with your treatment plan, such as colloidal oatmeal baths, Epsom salt soaks, and covering your treatment areas at night to keep your topical therapy in place.
Can Lifestyle Changes Help?
Although psoriasis is very common, several triggers can possibly contribute to the skin condition. Some patients find that making minor lifestyle alterations can be effective to reduce the severity of flare-ups. Some lifestyle changes may include abstaining from alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and staying active.
Which Treatment Is Right for You?
Sometimes, treating psoriasis can be a series of trials and errors. Based on the type of psoriasis you have and how well you have responded to various treatment options, it may take some time to identify which treatment is most effective for your skin condition. It’s common to begin your treatment with conservative measures like topical therapy to determine whether or not you need more advanced treatments.
Part of determining which treatment is right for you will start with your consultation appointment. During your consultation, you will discuss your symptoms, how long you have had psoriasis, and any potential triggers with your dermatologist. From there, your dermatologist will examine any areas where psoriasis is present and then make recommendations for your treatment.
Start Your Psoriasis Treatment Today
Although treating psoriasis can be challenging, with the help of a qualified dermatologist you can find a treatment that will work to reduce your flare-ups. Please contact us at River Region Dermatology and Laser in Montgomery, AL to schedule your initial consultation today.