Psoriasis Treatment Options
Important Things You Should Know About Psoriasis Treatments
Effective psoriasis treatments are many in number. The best possible treatment being determined by which type of psoriasis the patient is suffering, its severity, and the body area and/or areas involved. For those suffering with mild cases involving only small areas of the body, topical applications are the rule of the day. Creams, lotions, and sprays have proved very effective and safe in most of these cases. However, in some cases, a local injection of a steroid directly into afflicted area may be needed.
For those suffering moderate cases as well as those suffering more severe disease involving much larger areas of the body, topical products tend to have little or no effect. In such cases, the patient may require a more systematical treatment such as prescribed medications and the use of steroidal injections. However, it should be said that as stronger medications are implemented, the associated side effects are thus increased.
Perhaps the most successful of psoriasis treatments are those termed as “rotational” treatments. Used commonly by dermatologists, the altering cycles of this treatment system every six to twenty four months minimizes the overall possibility of treatment side effects.
Topical medications for psoriasis treatments may include corticosteroids, Dovonex (a vitamin D topical cream), Tazorac, certain moisturizers, immunomodulators, coal tar, and anthralin. Topical corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, have been very successful in psoriasis treatments and is very often the first method of treatment explored for less intensive cases of psoriasis. These topical creams are available in a wide range of preparations. Steroids, available in many different strengths, with the stronger of these being used for psoriasis in the areas of the elbow, knee, and tough skin areas, with the milder versions being used in areas like the face, underarms, and groin, being applied once or twice a day to affected area.
Caution should be exercised with the use of strong steroid topical medications. Prolonged exposure may have the side effect of permanent skin thinning or what is termed, atrophy. Dovonex may be used in combination with other topical steroid creams increasing favorable results. Taclonex, a new version of this topical, contains two steroidal elements, which have been shown to be very helpful in most cases. It should be noted that while many have had favorable results with this topical treatment, not all patients have responded to Dovonex as a topical treatment.
Moisturizers containing concentrations of different acids such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid may have positive results for psoriasis sufferers. Found in prescription and nonprescription medications, they moisten thus diminish the appearance psoriasis scales. Most common are the varieties Salex and AmLactin. These medications may be used from one to three times per day and generally have no risk of skin atrophy. A word of warning should be heeded that these preparations should never be used over delicate skin areas like the eyelids, face, or genitals. Unbelievably, simple moisturizers such as Vaseline, and even the vegetable shortening Crisco, have proven effective in the dry appearance of psoriasis.
Immuno-modulators are another option for treatment, however, the use of immunomodulator topical creams have been associated with cancer, causing this method of treatment to be somewhat controversial. Bath salts or Epsom salt bathing can be very helpful to some psoriasis patients. Moreover, these methods are quite safe, offering very few if any possible side effects. Coal tar, another helpful treatment, is available in various preparations such as shampoos, bathing solutions, and topical creams, reducing the appearance and the flaking of psoriasis. However, the use of coal tar is odorous and causes staining making it harder to use and messy as a therapy.
Photo-chemotherapy is yet another option for psoriasis treatment. The simplest form of this phototherapy involves exposure to controlled amounts of natural sunlight on the skin. The use of artificial ultraviolet A or ultraviolet B light, either alone or in combination and incorporated with prescribed medications, endured two to three times a week, is another method of treatment. Taking a light-sensitizing medication before photo-chemotherapy enables UVA to penetrate deeper into the skin, while it is not as effective with UVB light. Though an aggressive treatment, this method improves the skin and is used for those suffering from severe cases of psoriasis.