Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It is a noncontagious skin condition that produces red, dry plaques of thickened skin. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells.
There are various causes that trigger a case of Psoriasis:
- Bacterial or viral infection.
- Injury to skin.
- Some medicines like antimalarial drugs, beta-blockers.
- Over exposure to sun.
Psoriasis appears in a variety of forms with distinct characteristics. The different types of Psoriasis are:
- Plaque Psoriasis- It is the most prevalent form of Psoriasis. It is characterized by raised, inflamed, red lesions covered by a silvery white scale. Its usuall y found ner the elbows. Knees scalp and lower back.
- Guttate- People usually gets Guttate at childhood or early teen years. This form of psoriasis appears as small, red, individual spots on the skin.
- Inverse- This type of psoriasis appears as bright-red lesions that are smooth and shiny. Inverse psoriasis is found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts.
- Pustular- Pustular psoriasis is characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus surrounded by red skin. This condition is primarily seen in adults.
- Erythrodermic- Psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that affects most of the body surface. It is characterized by widespread redness of the skin and the shedding of scales in sheets, rather than smaller flakes. It also is often accompanied by severe itching and pain, heart rate increase, and fluctuating body temperature.
Different treatments are administered to help fight Psoriasis. Skin lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos called tropical treatments are sometimes used. Medicines that suppress the immune system’s faulty response are also used. At Dr. Mushtaq’s Skin Clinic we use an innovative technology called the Phototherapy. It involves exposing the skin that has been to a controlled dose of ultraviolet light. Sources of UV light used in phototherapy are UVB, PUVA, and lasers.
- In UVB or ultraviolet light B therapy, a machine is used to direct ultraviolet rays to affected areas. These rays penetrate the skin and slow the abnormally high skin cell production rate associated with psoriasis. UVB phototherapy is administered on a regular basis. UVB phototherapy is a good course of treatment for those with moderate to severe cases of psoriasis. There are two forms of UVB: broadband and narrowband. Broadband UVB has been used successfully for many tears. The narrowband UVB is the latest addition to this technology in which specific range of ultraviolet wavelength is used. With the more focused rays of narrowband, fewer treatment sessions are required than with broadband UVB therapy.
- In PUVA the “P” stands for psoralen which is a medication used along with UVA phototherapy that makes the skin more sensitive to light. PUVA treatments cause inflammation and redness in the skin to develop within two to three days after treatment. Such damage inhibits skin cell proliferation and reduces psoriasis plaque formation. Psoralen is most commonly administered orally; the patient takes the medication 75 to 120 minutes before entering the UVA light box. The amount of time a patient is exposed to UVA rays depends on the skin type.
- Two kinds of Laser are used in the treatment of psoriasis- Excimer lasers and Pulsed dye lasers. Excimer lasers deliver ultraviolet light that is similar to that emitted in narrowband UVB therapy but more effective. It targets very specific areas of skin and can clear the psoriasis faster and at lower doses while sparing the healthy skin around it. At our clinic we also use Pulsed-dye lasers which emit high-intensity yellow light that destroy the tiny blood vessels that make up psoriatic plaques. Patients typically need fewer treatments than with the excimer laser before seeing results.