Jessica Holmes, PharmD, from Wellspring Pharmacy, answers common questions about psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a condition in which someone’s immune system can cause thick, scaly, red patches to form on the skin, usually in areas like the elbows, knees, or scalp. Even though those areas are most common, the patches can actually develop anywhere on the body. Cases can vary between mild to severe.
Is it contagious or hereditary?
Psoriasis is NOT contagious. It is an autoimmune condition, which means the patient’s own immune system causes the patches on the skin to occur. You may be more likely to have psoriasis if someone in your family has the condition, because it needs certain genes that are transmitted from parents to children.
Is it curable?
Psoriasis is not considered entirely curable, although there are several effective treatment options that may completely eliminate symptoms in some patients. Treatment options will differ from patient to patient, as some cases are more severe than others and may require more extensive treatment.
Are there prescription options?
There are many prescription options available to treat psoriasis. Most cases of psoriasis are treatable by creams or ointments that help to reduce the patch formation and help with the redness. If a patient has a more severe case of psoriasis or cannot use the creams and ointments, there are oral and injectable medications that can be effective.
What over-the-counter options does Wellspring carry?
Along with prescription options, there are several OTC treatment options for psoriasis, including coal tar, over-the-counter steroid creams and moisturizers. However, if you think you may have psoriasis, it is important to meet with your doctor to confirm your suspicions and discuss what treatment option is best for you before you begin trying any remedies on your own.
Are there lifestyle changes that can help?
Psoriasis can actually be triggered or worsened by factors that you can control. One of the main factors is stress. If stress levels are high or suddenly become higher, they can trigger a flare-up of psoriasis in patients that already have the condition. Working on relaxation and removing or changing things that stress you is a great step towards reducing your chance of a flare-up.
Because it is an immune system problem, any time your immune system is weakened (like if you are sick with an infection), your psoriasis may flare. Make sure to see your doctor if you are feeling ill, as this will help keep you healthy and may prevent a psoriasis flare-up.
If you would like to find out more about psoriasis online, you can find some great resources from the National Psoriasis Foundation. It is always very important to make sure that you discuss your condition and your treatment options with your doctor, but remember we are always here at Wellspring to help you!