Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions that patients seek the advice of a Dermatologist for. In the United States psoriasis is estimated to affect over 6 million people(1/50). Most cases of psoriasis are not inherited(2/3); however, there are many examples of psoriasis affecting many generations of families(1/3). It can present at any age, although most present during early childhood and the clinical course is unpredictable.

Different forms of psoriasis:

  • Guttate
  • Inverse
  • Plaque type
  • Scalp psoriasis
  • Nail psoriasis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Pustular psoriasis
  • Hand/foot psoriasis
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis

Psoriasis can be localized to one region of the body or it can be generalized. The diagnosis is usually made easily by a clinician or even the patient themselves. Occasionally a skin biopsy is required to help make the diagnosis.

Many effective treatments exist. Dermatologists often implement a stepwise ladder approach.

  • Starting with topical treatments that include: moisturizers, topical steroids, calcipotriene,and tar.
  • Light therapy (phototherapy) plays a role in patients that have a significant body surface area of involvement.
    • Narrow band UVB
    • Natural sunlight
  • Systemic medications that are effective in treating psoriasis:
  • Methotrexate
  • Acitretin
  • Cyclosporin
  • Several biologicals given by injection.

* Many times we use combinations of the above treatments to help our patients. Many new drugs for the treatment of psoriasis are being studied. Penn State Hershey Medical Center is often on the cutting edge by investigation many of these new promising treatments.

Psoriasis is a very common problem, which has many effective treatment options.  To learn more about psoriasis click here.