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Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions. It’s a chronic disorder that causes skin cells to grow more quickly and build up on the surface of the skin. These extra skin cells create thick, shiny scales and itchy, dry red patches. The skin patches can be painful and can vary in size and intensity over time.
Other common symptoms of psoriasis include:
Psoriasis symptoms may flare up at certain times and go away at other times. There’s no cure for the condition. Since psoriasis never really goes away, treatment is focused on slowing the growth of skin cells and offering relief from symptoms.
Diagnosing and treating psoriasis requires a variety of doctors and specialists. Here’s a team of people who can help you through your treatment.
The first type of doctor you should see if you suspect you have psoriasis is your primary care physician. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and take your medical history. They may also take a skin sample to help confirm a psoriasis diagnosis.
If you are found to have psoriasis, your doctor will most likely recommend topical treatments to relieve symptoms. Topical treatments include:
A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating the skin, hair, and nails. They can offer different treatments than your primary care physician. These treatments include light therapy and oral or injected medications.
Light therapy involves using natural or artificial ultraviolet light to slow skin growth and inflammation. For natural light therapy, your dermatologist may recommend that you spend more time outside in the sunlight. They may also perform various artificial light therapies, including:
Since these drugs can cause severe side effects, they’re usually only recommended for short-term use.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, some people with psoriasis may benefit from seeing a nutritionist. A nutritionist can help you create a diet that reduces or prevents your psoriasis symptoms and improves your overall health. For example, a nutritionist may tell you to avoid certain foods that are known to trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms, including:
A nutritionist may also recommend vitamins or supplements if your diet is lacking certain nutrients. Filling in the holes in your diet with supplements may reduce your psoriasis symptoms.
Written by: Erica Cirino
Medically reviewed on: Jun 13, 2016: Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI
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