Psoriasis – How do I get control and treatment for this?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are sometimes itchy and painful. Psoriasis is a common condition that affects about 2% of the population in the United States.
There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that appears as small, red, droplet-like lesions on the skin. Inverse psoriasis appears as smooth, red patches in skin folds, such as the armpits or groin. Pustular psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis that appears as white blisters filled with pus.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an immune system problem. It is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.
One treatment option for psoriasis is light therapy, also known as phototherapy. Light therapy involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of natural or artificial light. There are several types of light therapy for psoriasis, including narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) therapy, psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy, and pulse dye laser.
Narrowband UVB therapy uses a specific range of UVB light to slow the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. It is often used as a first-line treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis and is considered to be safe and effective. Studies have shown that narrowband UVB therapy can be as effective as other forms of light therapy and can be used to clear up to 90% of psoriasis lesions. The benefits of narrowband UVB therapy include that it is safe, effective, and has a low risk of side effects.
PUVA therapy involves taking a medication called psoralen, which makes the skin more sensitive to light, and then exposing the skin to UVA light. PUVA therapy is typically used for more severe cases of psoriasis and is effective in clearing up to 90% of lesions. The benefits of PUVA therapy include that it is effective and can be used to treat a wide range of skin conditions. However, it does have a higher risk of side effects, including sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer.
The pulse dye laser is a type of laser that uses short pulses of high-energy light to target blood vessels in the skin. It is often used to treat small areas of psoriasis or to treat lesions that are resistant to other forms of treatment. The pulse dye laser works by destroying the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, which leads to the death of the cells. The benefits of the pulse dye laser include that it is quick, effective, and has a low risk of side effects. However, it is not suitable for all types of psoriasis and may not be effective in treating larger areas of the skin.
In conclusion, light therapy is a effective treatment option for psoriasis. Narrowband UVB therapy is a safe and effective first-line treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis, while PUVA therapy is effective for more severe cases of psoriasis. The pulse dye laser is effective for small areas of psoriasis or for lesions that are resistant to other forms of treatment. All forms of light therapy have both benefits and drawbacks, and the most suitable treatment will depend on the individual patient.