What is Psoriasis?
Dr. Renee Snyder and her team of board-certified Austin, TX dermatologists assist men and women with the treatment and ongoing management of psoriasis. This is a chronic skin condition that occurs when skin cells grow too rapidly. This causes flaky, red, silvery patches of skin that can become inflamed, itch, scale, and crust. Normal skin cells turn over and flake about once per month, or every 4 weeks. Sufferers of psoriasis have skin cells that build-up quickly and form what is known as plaques. They can range in size and location on the body, forming on the elbows, hands, knees, scalp, and lower back. There is no permanent cure for psoriasis, however, there are numerous treatments that can keep the condition from flaring up.
"As I’ve gotten older, the number of medical specialists I see regularly has grown. And I’ve discovered I’m picky when it comes to who I trust with my issues. I recently had an appointment with Dr. Foley, and it seems I can cross Dermatologist off my list. Dr. Foley immediately set me at ease and was friendly and personable throughout my visit. She and her staff took great care of me professionally and seemed to value my time as much as her own."- L.G. / Yelp / Jun 19, 2021
"First in person appointment and it went extremely well!! Dr. Parker was so nice and help make my procedure as painless as possible. She made sure I was comfortable throughout it all. Additionally her assistant Kayla was also very kind, and she also made me feel comfortable."- M.M. / Yelp / Jun 01, 2021
"Overall a quick, painless experience. I had a painful skin growth that needed to be removed. Didn’t spend any time in the waiting room. The whole process took about five minutes. I wish more of my doctor’s appointments were this easy."- B.P. / Yelp / May 19, 2021
"First time to this office. Beautiful office and the Staff is very welcoming. Dr Foley and her nurse made me feel at such ease and made me feel like not all hope is lost. This will be my 3rd Dermatologist to help with my Chronic Rosacea."- R.C. / Facebook / May 06, 2021
"I have been seeing Dr. Snyder for 8 years now. She is hands down the best dermatologist I have ever seen. I appreciate her direct no nonsense manner and her overall approach to aging. She is always one to err on the side of "less is more" and has countless times advised me against something I was inquiring about because she felt it was simply too soon. I truly trust her opinion and approach. Anytime I have come in with a dermatological issue her recommended remedy has always worked on the first try. I would never dream of seeing anyone else. Dr. Snyder is my end all be all"- M.F. / Yelp / Mar 25, 2021
What Causes Psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis hasn’t been pinpointed by doctors. The overall thinking is that the immune system overreacts which causes inflammation as well as flaking of the skin. It’s also believed that psoriasis can be inherited. Approximately 1/3 of people who have psoriasis have one or more family members with the condition. Scientists believe that certain genes interact which leads to psoriasis. However, a patient must inherit the right combination of genes as well as be exposed to a trigger. Symptoms can appear after triggers such as a stressful event, taking certain medications, strep throat, cold, dry weather or a bad sunburn.
Types of Psoriasis
There are several different forms of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis or psoriasis vulgaris, pustular psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis or exfoliative psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common. While most cases of psoriasis are considered mild, some are difficult to treat and can require multiple treatments throughout a patient’s life. It is also important to note that psoriasis isn’t contagious and can’t be spread from person to person. Once it is diagnosed, it is a matter of managing the symptoms so that flare-ups can be minimized.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The most common symptoms associated with psoriasis include raised, bright red patches of skin that are covered with loose and silvery scales. Plaques can also appear in the same area on both sides of the body, such as on both knees and/or both elbows. The scalp can experience anything from mild scaling to areas of thick, crusted plaques. Itching is common before flare-ups especially when psoriatic patches appear in body folds such as under the buttocks or breasts. Tiny areas of skin bleeding can occur when scales are picked or scraped off. This is known as Auspitz’s sign. In addition, nails can appear pitted or discolored or even crumble and fall off. Some common symptoms associated with the varying types of psoriasis include:
- Guttate psoriasis: Common symptoms include small, red spots that can appear all over the skin and often appear after an illness.
- Pustular psoriasis: Common symptoms include red, swollen skin with pus-filled bumps that can cover the palms and soles and can be painful.
- Inverse psoriasis: Common symptoms include smooth, red patches of skin that appear raw-looking. Patches develop only where skin comes into contact with other skin such as the armpits or genitals.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: Common symptoms include areas of skin that look burned and most, if not all, of the body turns bright red and the body can’t maintain a normal temperature. A person must seek medical care immediately since this condition can be life threatening.
How to Treat Psoriasis
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there are a variety of treatments available to treat the condition depending on the severity and type of psoriasis a patient has. Mild cases can be treated with prescription lotions, creams and ointments. When the scalp is affected, shampoos, sprays and oils can be used. Systemic medications are prescription drugs that are taken orally or by injection and work throughout the body. They are usually used for individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Biologic drugs, or "biologics," are usually prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis that has not responded to other treatments. They are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion. Advancements in laser therapy have made huge improvements for many patients. Using phototherapy to expose a patient’s skin to special, ultraviolet light helps reduce symptoms, as well as helps the skin to look normal.
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Schedule a Consult Today!
Since psoriasis is not only painful, but can also be embarrassing, making it difficult for some patients to live their day-to-day lives, it is crucial for a patient to see a dermatologist to understand how to manage the condition. We invite you to call our dermatology office today and make an appointment for your thorough consultation.