Caring for your scalp psoriasis

How do I know if I have scalp psoriasis?
If you already have psoriasis on other parts of your body, chances are you'll recognize the scaling if it appears on your scalp. Lesions from scalp psoriasis can appear from your forehead to the back of your neck, often including the area behind your ears. The plaques may be fairly mild in nature (silvery, fine scales similar to dandruff) or they may become severe (i.e., thick and crusted scaling). You may also experience nail pitting and arthritis in some cases.

What are some medications I can use?
Many treatment options exist for scalp psoriasis and your doctor will recommend which ones best suit your condition. These may include coal tar products (such as shampoos, creams, and soaps), topical (skin-applied) steroids, or a vitamin D3 derivative in the form of an ointment, gel or foam that your skin absorbs overnight. Some products may contain more than one of these ingredients for a stronger effect. You may need to vary treatments over time, as your body may grow tolerant to a particular treatment and the medication may become less effective.

What are "keratolytics"?
When psoriasis medications are applied to psoriasis plaques, medications can have trouble penetrating the scales. If some of the scales can be softened and then removed ahead of time, then the medication can be absorbed more easily and have a greater effect. Products that help soften psoriasis scales for removal are called keratolytics. Keratolytics include ingredients such as salicylic acid and urea.

What is "occlusion" and what does it do?
Occlusion involves covering certain topical treatments with a dressing or covering (such as a cap, in the case of scalp treatments) that does not breathe so that the medication can work properly. (In the case of sometimes messy scalp psoriasis creams and ointments, occlusion can also help protect your pillows and sheets!) Check with your doctor before occluding any treatments, as this procedure is not appropriate for all treatments.

What about my hair?
In terms of practicality, hair can hamper medications being applied to your scalp and can sometimes make your treatment process more difficult. Hair can become entwined with psoriasis scales, and as you attempt to remove these scales, your hair may come out as well. Or some treatments may cause your hair to weaken and break (e.g., salicylic acid) or stain your hair colour (e.g., coal tar).

The good news is that scalp psoriasis itself does not cause hair loss, and hair does grow back. Dry hair can break more easily so avoid using harsh shampoos or other hair care products. Air drying your hair, as opposed to blow drying, is also less drying on the scalp. But if you have scalp psoriasis, and you are treating it, you may want to consider keeping your hair short to keep things simple. (This could be a good reason for that bold cut you've always considered!)

For further information on treatment for scalp psoriasis, or for resources to help manage the impact of this condition, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Caring-for-Your-Different-Body-Parts

Caring for your facial psoriasis

Facial psoriasis (which usually appears on the forehead or around the upper lip) can sometimes be treated with as mild an ointment as petroleum jelly. If this does not provide relief, you may need to advance to a slightly stronger medication that may contain a corticosteroid. Make sure you do not over-apply any medicated cream or ointment, and follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Use common sense and caution when applying any cream or ointment to your face, as the product may cause irritation if it comes in contact with your eyes.

Keep in mind that one drawback to using topical (skin-applied) corticosteroid medications is that your body may build up a tolerance to the medication and it may work less effectively over time. If this happens, other topical medications are available and your doctor may recommend you switch to one of these.

Light therapy is another alternative to help ease psoriasis on your face. Discuss this approach with your doctor and make sure to follow their directions. Light therapy usually requires on average 20 clinic treatments (or more if done with home equipment) so it’s important to be patient throughout your treatment. While light therapy may offer benefits, remember that over-exposure to ultraviolet rays may result in sunburn, or even skin cancer (over the long-term).

For further information on treatment for facial psoriasis, or for resources to help manage the impact of this condition, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Caring-for-Your-Different-Body-Parts

Caring for your hands and feet

Psoriais on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet is often referred to as palmoplantar psoriasis, characterized by redness and scaling in these areas. You may develop pustules (white, pus-filled blisters) in addition to the redness and scaling, in which case your condition is called palmoplantar pustulosis. It’s unclear whether palmoplantar pustulosis is a form of psoriasis but sometimes those with palmoplantar pustulosis will also have psoriasis in other areas.

Either way, the presence of psoriasis on the hands and feet can create an impact beyond the outward physical effects. With this condition, some people may find they cannot pursue certain athletic activities, or some may find difficulty following their chosen career path (if your profession requires that your hands and feet be in the best condition possible). As with other chronic health problems, it's important to treat and manage psoriasis in all its forms as best you can to help minimize its effects on other areas of your life.

To treat psoriasis on your hands and feet, your doctor may recommend a topical (skin-applied) corticosteroid. If need be, a high-potency topical corticosteroid may be used if your skin does not respond to the initial treatment. Hands and feet can tolerate a higher strength medication than some other, more delicate areas of the body. Corticosteroids can come in both cream and ointment options. Creams are less greasy and useful in areas where there is a lot of movement or shifting, whereas ointments penetrate dry and scaly skin more effectively. Other skin-applied medications include coal tar or salicylic acid, vitamin D derivatives and calcineurin inhibitors, which can be used on its own or in combination with corticosteroids.

In more serious cases, other medications such as methotrexate or cyclosporine (called systemics, as they are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body and its systems) may be taken by mouth. Acitretin (another systemic, also taken by mouth) may offer particular help for pustular psoriasis. There are also newer systemic options called biologics (injections or infusions given at certain intervals that target specific immune responses) that are effective and have fewer side effects. However, you should know that many systemic medications carry the risk of serious side effects, so make sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have about this type of treatment.

Light therapy is another option that may offer relief (sometimes in combination with other medications) for psoriasis scaling on your hands and feet.

For further information on treatment, or for resources to help manage the impact of this condition, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Caring-for-Your-Different-Body-Parts

Caring for your nails

What does nail psoriasis look like? Nails affected by psoriasis show changes in the shape, colour, and surface of the nail. Typically, "pitting" appears – small holes (or pits) on the nail itself and the nail (often a shade of white, yellow or brown) may start to grow away from the nailbed. There may also be buildup or blood that can appear underneath the nail. With nail psoriasis, the cause of the problem is hard to reach and therefore treat because the problems occur as the nail is forming, under the skin at the base of the nail.

Nevertheless, different medications are available to provide relief. Helpful medications that can be applied to the skin include corticosteroids (to reduce inflammation) and vitamin D3 derivatives (which regulate the production and development of skin cells). Since it can be difficult for these types of medications to penetrate through the nail, you may be recommended systemic medications, which are taken by mouth and carried through the bloodstream to the rest of the body. You may also be recommended certain systemic medications called biologics, which are injections or infusions given at intervals to target specific immune responses in the body with fewer side effects.

One easy thing you can do is to keep your nails short. This will help avoid chipping and tearing, which could lead to further damage or contribute to the Koebner phenomenon (where psoriasis plaques appear at sites of an injury). Short fingernails will also lessen the impact of any scratching you do at other psoriasis plaques on your body. And what about your toes? Trim like a pedicurist – cut your toenails straight across to lessen the chance of ingrown toenails and further discomfort.

For further information on treatment for nail psoriasis, or for resources to help manage the impact of this condition, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Caring-for-Your-Different-Body-Parts