Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that goes a lot further than skin deep. The red, silvery, or flaky lesions that appear on your skin can make you uncomfortable.
Because psoriasis is a disease of your immune system, it can even degrade your joints, leading to a painful complication called psoriatic arthritis. About one-third of people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis.
In addition to being an expert dermatologist, Paul Yamauchi MD, PhD, is at the forefront of investigating and applying the most novel and effective new therapies for psoriasis. The team at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica, California, offers multiple treatment options to provide you relief.
Lifestyle changes and topical treatments
If you have mild psoriasis, you may find relief simply by modifying some elements of your lifestyle and controlling symptoms with topical treatments.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which means that you have an overactive immune system that attacks healthy skin cells. Supporting your whole body health may help control psoriasis symptoms. Steps include:
Nicotine use can exacerbate flares and increase your chances of developing other autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease. People with psoriasis who quit smoking tend to have fewer flares and stay in remission longer.
Alcohol increases your risk for complications and also decreases the efficacy of psoriasis treatments. Quitting or limiting alcohol supports liver health to reduce your risk for fatty liver disease.
Try a healthier diet and more exercise
Increased body weight increases the severity of psoriasis symptoms. Emphasize a healthy diet and try to add more activity in your life to increase your general health and shed excess pounds.
Topical treatments that help control flares include:
- Hydrocortisone to control itching and inflammation
- Dovonex® to slow skin-cell growth
- Tazorac® to increase skin-cell turnover
We may also recommend Vitamin D supplements.
Light and laser therapies
Sunlight triggers your body to produce Vitamin D, which can slow the aberrant skin-cell growth that occurs in psoriasis. You may be able to prevent flares or alleviate symptoms by briefly exposing your skin to sunlight each day. If you have severe psoriasis, you may need to undergo ultraviolet (UV) treatments with a narrow-band UVB laser.
Oral therapies may be appropriate if your psoriasis is moderate to severe. We only recommend oral medications if topical treatments fail. Choices include:
- Methotrexate to control skin cell production and inflammation
- Cyclosporine to suppress your immune response
- Otezla® to reduce redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques
We may need to monitor your liver function while on oral therapies. Cyclosporine can only be used for short periods. We might also recommend alternating therapies to reduce the risk of side effects.
One of the most exciting developments in treating psoriasis is the advent of biologic therapies that are composed of monoclonal antibodies and fusion proteins. Injectable biologics work by calming your immune response. We offer:
Biologics can be especially effective in treating psoriatic arthritis. Dr. Yamauchi is also actively involved in clinical trials that investigate new drugs and therapies for psoriasis. If you’d like to take part in a clinical trial, let us know.
The best news is that psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can be treated. Call our friendly staff or send us an online message to book a consultation and customized psoriasis treatment plan today.