Some of the common triggers that cause flare-ups include certain foods and drinks, sun damage, emotional stress, dry skin and skin injuries. Plaque may also go into a state of remission, but it usually comes back at some point. As of yet, there is still no cure for this annoying condition, but several treatments and remedies are available to help reduce the severity, bring relief and improve daily quality of life. The prescribed treatment will depend on the severity level of your plaque psoriasis.
Topical treatments are medicated creams applied to the skin. These are usually chosen by dermatologists as a first line of defense when treating psoriasis, and they are only available by prescription from your healthcare provider. Topicals work by slowing down or normalizing excessive cell reproduction, thereby reducing inflammation caused by psoriasis. Topical steroids are derived from the corticosteroid hormones that are naturally produced by the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids control inflammatory responses in the body, among other important functions, making them an ideal anti-inflammatory agent to reduce swelling and redness caused by plaques. There are also some newer treatment approaches available now that combine topical treatment options, such as a corticosteroid with a retinoid.
Sometimes a topical steroid may not be the best treatment option for you. In that case, your doctor may prescribe a topical non-steroidal treatment instead. Some of the ingredients used in prescription non-steroidal topical treatments include anthralin, synthetic vitamin D3 and vitamin A, which all help to control psoriasis plaques.
Alternatively, if you have a mild case of plaque psoriasis, you can opt for OTC topical treatments instead. They can be found in many different forms, including lotions, foams, tars, bath solutions, shampoos and more. The two active ingredients, salicylic acid and coal tar, are approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis and can be found in all these treatment types. Other products may also contain substances such as aloe vera, jojoba, zinc pyrithione and capsaicin, which are used to moisturize, soothe, remove scales and relieve itching.
UVB is present in natural sunlight and is an effective treatment for psoriasis. UVB penetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells. There are 2 UV Light Treatments available, both of which have been approved by the FDA. This type of treatment involves exposing the skin to an artificial UVB light source for a set length of time on a consistent schedule. This treatment is administered in a health care provider’s office, clinic or at home with a phototherapy unit. Home therapy units are quite convenient, and they can save a lot of money every month on clinic visits.
There are two types of UVB treatment: broad band and narrow band. Narrow – band is highly recommended by dermatologists for three reasons:
1. These UVB light bulbs release a smaller range of ultraviolet light, as too much can be harmful to the skin.
2. They often clear psoriasis faster, produce better results and longer remissions.
3. It requires fewer treatments per week.
If UV light is not an option for you or does not provide satisfactory results, then your doctor may prescribe oral systemic treatments. Systemic medications, such as NSAIDs, Soriatane, Cyclosporine and several others, work throughout the body, and are typically prescribed for those with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.
Systemic psoriasis drugs have been around for more than 10 years and are taken by mouth in liquid or pill form. Newer oral systemic treatments can now selectively target molecules inside immune cells. By adjusting the complex processes of inflammation within the cell, these treatments correct the overactive immune response that causes inflammation in those with psoriatic disease, leading to significant improvements in redness and a reduction in psoriasis scales, tenderness and swelling.
There are various home remedies that can help control the symptoms of plaque psoriasis when you need some quick relief. While home remedies are considered safe for most people, it’s still a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before trying any of them.
● Take over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines for severe itch relief.
● Bathe or shower in lukewarm water for a maximum of 15 minutes.
● Look for mild soaps and other products labeled “fragrance-free” or “for sensitive skin.”
● Moisturize your skin several times a day using a cream or ointment, including after your bath or shower. Coconut oil is especially helpful which keeps your skin hydrated while providing relief.
● Add Dead Sea salt to a bathtub filled with warm water at a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and soak your affected areas for at least 10 minutes several times per week.
● Wear loose – fitting clothing that allows affected areas to breathe. <p. ● Some studies have found that herbal therapies, including aloe vera, can provide some relief as well.
Other skin conditions, such as eczema or dermatitis, share similar appearances and symptoms, so your doctor may conduct a few tests to rule those out. (Allergy test, biopsy and blood test.)