Have you noticed red, itchy patches on your skin no matter how much you exfoliate or moisturize? Millions of people who experience the symptoms of psoriasis brush them aside at first, hoping they’ll resolve on their own.
At HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, our board-certified dermatologists have the expertise and experience needed to address skin concerns of all kinds, including the often misunderstood condition called psoriasis.
Our team is familiar with the ins and outs regarding psoriasis, and we’re here to help you understand when it’s time to move from self-management to medical assistance to manage this condition.
All about psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where your body's immune system targets its own skin cells, causing rapid skin cell turnover at a rate much higher than normal. That causes red, scaly patches to appear on your skin's surface.
There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis (the most common), guttate psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis, among others. Each type has its own distinctive appearance and some different symptoms.
While medical researchers are still studying the exact cause of this condition, providers know that factors like genetics, infections, stress, and even certain medications can trigger psoriasis flare-ups or worsen your symptoms.
When to see a dermatologist about your psoriasis
Psoriasis is more than just a cosmetic concern. Persistent psoriasis flare-ups can impact your overall well-being, including your mental health. If you notice any of the following signs, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your HK Dermatology provider:
Flare-ups that won’t quit
Psoriasis flare-ups aren't just visually concerning. Over time, these patches can become thicker and might even start to crack and bleed.
If you've noticed that your skin patches are evolving in texture and intensity, it’s a sign that professional intervention is required. Untreated psoriasis can lead to more extensive and painful lesions that may become infected.
Discomfort and pain
A slight itch might seem manageable initially, but psoriasis can escalate quickly. When psoriasis progresses, the itching can transition from a mild annoyance to debilitating discomfort.
Painful skin can disrupt your sleep, causing fatigue and affecting your quality of life. If you find yourself reaching for over-the-counter creams more often or if daily tasks become a challenge due to skin discomfort, it's time to consult a provider.
Patches in new places
Psoriasis doesn’t always stay in one area. It can spread. So, if you spot patches appearing in new areas of your body, especially sensitive zones like your face, palms, soles, or genitals, it’s essential to get a professional evaluation.
These areas can be challenging to treat with over-the-counter solutions. In addition, the emotional toll of visible facial patches or discomfort in sensitive areas can be significant.
Joint pain or stiffness
Psoriasis can move below the surface of your skin. Psoriatic arthritis is a serious complication where your joints are affected, leading to pain, swelling, and, in severe cases, joint damage.
If you start experiencing joint issues in addition to skin symptoms, it's important to address both simultaneously. Early detection and treatment of psoriatic arthritis can protect your joints and help you maintain your mobility.
How a dermatologist can help
At HK Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists evaluate your skin, overall health, and medical history to ensure you get the most effective treatment personalized to your unique situation.
Depending on your symptoms, type of psoriasis, personal preferences, lifestyle, and medical history, your plan may include one or a combination of:
Diet and lifestyle changes
Certain foods make inflammation worse, which can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. We may recommend steering clear of red meat, dairy products, and refined sugars to ease your symptoms.
In addition, managing stress and prioritizing mental wellness can be vital in reducing flare-ups. We work with you to create a lifestyle plan to meet your needs.
Ointments, especially corticosteroid creams, can be effective for mild psoriasis. Salicylic acid applications can help dead skin cells shed, and moisturizers can ease dryness and reduce scaling.
For more severe cases, systemic medications might be necessary. These drugs work throughout your body to help control and manage your body’s immune and inflammatory response.
Light therapy involves exposing your skin to ultraviolet light under controlled conditions. This treatment can significantly reduce or halt skin cell growth, offering relief from pesky skin plaques.
If you have any of the above signs or want more information about your skin's health, talk to one of our providers by scheduling a consultation at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, today.