We see many men and women with psoriasis at our Worcester, Massachusetts practice. Often, it’s a condition they’ve inherited from their parents or grandparents. But while they may have seen family members struggle with the red skin and patchy “scales” of psoriasis, they’re relieved to discover that treatment is possible.
To learn more, request a consultation online or call us at 508-754-3823 in Worcester or 978-256-4151 in Chelmsford.
Causes of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a genetically mediated disease in which the immune system plays an important role. The immune system mistakenly activates a type of white blood cell called a T-cell. Once activated a reaction is triggered that causes skin cells to grow more quickly. The result is the characteristic scaly appearance. The most common areas of concern are the elbows, knees, scalp, and trunk, but they can appear anywhere. Other symptoms are possible, including arthritis.
While the cause of psoriasis is genetics, there are other factors that can trigger attacks. These include stress, some medications, strep throat and trauma to the skin.
There are several treatment options for psoriasis. These include:
- Topical medications applied to affected areas. Typically-prescribed topical medications are cortisone creams, moisturizers, dandruff shampoos, salicylic acid, and Vitamin D or Vitamin A.
- Phototherapy. These treatments use UVA or UVB light. Our office has narrow band UVB (NB-UVB) light boxes which are extremely safe and effective for psoriasis.
- Systemic medications to suppress the body’s immune response, including biologics.
- Laser Therapy. A laser can target the psoriasis and not touch the surrounding skin. Because the light treats only the psoriasis, a strong dose of light can be used. This offers many people an effective way to treat a stubborn patch of psoriasis, such as on the scalp, feet, or hands. A laser is not the right treatment for psoriasis that covers a large area. Our offices have the XTRAC laser and treatments are generally covered by medical insurance.
Often, a combination of treatments achieves the best results. Our dermatologists stay on the leading edge of new developments in the management of psoriasis and can recommend the most advantageous treatment plan for you.
We often hear patients explain the strain that their psoriasis symptoms can place on their confidence. After we’ve used medical therapy to treat the condition, psoriasis patients sometimes choose cosmetic treatments to further enhance their appearance. We offer many gentle, non-surgical cosmetic skin care procedures.