Psoriasis appears as an itchy, scaly rash usually at your elbows, scalp, and knees -- but it can appear anywhere. It’s not contagious, but it can be uncomfortable and cosmetically unappealing. Doctors believe that psoriasis is genetic and may be caused when a trigger sets off your immune system so that you produce skin cells too rapidly.
The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which shows up as scaly, thick patches. Psoriasis may also appear as:
Pustular: small white blisters surrounded by red skin that often appear on your hands or feet
Guttate: small, red spots primarily on the torso and limbs, often seen in children or young adults
Inverse: bright red lesions in the folds of your skin
Erythrodermic: a serious form in which your skin becomes bright red and sheds scales in sheets
Dr. Safko will examine your skin and any plaque or rashes to determine if you have psoriasis. The condition often lies dormant until triggered by an emotional event, extreme stress, or other inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
Psoriasis doesn’t have a direct cure, but symptoms can be alleviated with topical creams, such as those containing salicylic acid or steroids. Light and laser therapy also help with persistent cases of psoriasis. Dr. Safko uses the Pharos excimer laser, which is a powerful, monochromatic laser especially valuable in treating chronic psoriasis. The wand emits a beam of ultraviolet light to target hard-to-reach areas, including your elbows and knees.
Treatments with the Pharos laser are pain free and target the affected skin without damaging healthy tissue. You will have no downtime after a laser treatment, and you will not need any daily maintenance after the procedure. How you respond to the laser therapy depends on your skin and psoriasis type, but it can provide long-term remission.
The number of treatments you need depends on the extent of your psoriasis and how your body responds, but many people do well after about 8 sessions. The treatment is often covered by insurance.