Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects more than seven million people in our country. The disease is of many types, and plaque psoriasis is the most common. It is chronic and causes red, itchy, and scaly patches all over the body. This article focuses on understanding the different types of psoriasis, followed by the symptoms, treatments, and home remedies for plaque psoriasis.
Types of psoriasis
As mentioned, psoriasis is an umbrella term that covers different skin conditions. There are many types of psoriasis, including:
- Plaque psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is one of the most common types. It can lead to dry and reddened skin covered in silver scales. These patches usually appear on the knees, lower back, and scalp.
- Nail psoriasis
Nail psoriasis affects a person’s finger and toenails, causing pitting, crumbling, and discoloration. Individuals often see ridges, and the nails also separate from the nail bed.
- Guttate psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis mainly affects children and young adults and is usually triggered by bacterial infections. Common signs include small, scaling lesions and more.
There are also other types of psoriasis, such as inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Our focus will be on understanding plaque psoriasis.
Symptoms of plaque psoriasis
The symptoms of plaque psoriasis may vary depending on the individual and severity of the condition. Here are some of the most common signs must look out for:
The telltale sign of plaque psoriasis is the appearance of plaques or scales on the skin. These scales usually have a silvery, dandruff-like appearance. On colored skin, the plaques appear darker, thicker, and purple or brown. They typically develop on the lower back, elbows, knees, soles of the feet, scalps, and even the face and palms. They may be painful or painless.
- Dryness or cracked skin
Although dry skin could be due to other health conditions, it is common in people with plaque psoriasis. If the dryness is left untreated in this condition, the skin can crack and bleed, causing a lot of pain.
Besides the signs mentioned above, people can also experience itching, burning, and soreness. If these symptoms do not improve, one should visit a doctor immediately.
Treatments for plaque psoriasis
When treating plaque psoriasis, the focus is mainly on reducing the skin cells’ growth and eliminating the skin scales. Common modes of treatment for plaque psoriasis include:
- Topical therapy
One of the most effective ways of treating plaque psoriasis is by using topical therapy. This therapy uses creams, ointments, lotions, and more to treat the growth on the skin. Common topical therapy medications include corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs, retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, salicylic acid, Goeckerman therapy, and anthralin. These therapies can be used to treat plaque psoriasis individually or in combination with other modes of treatment.
- Light therapy
Light therapy is usually the preferred mode of treating severe cases of plaque psoriasis. The treatment involves exposing certain affected areas of the skin to natural or artificial light, such as sunlight, UVB broadband and narrowband, psoralen plus ultraviolet A, and excimer laser. Patients may require multiple rounds of light therapy before noticing results.
In rare cases, doctors prescribe oral or injected medications to treat the different types of psoriasis. Common oral medications include steroids, retinoids, methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, and other modes.
Doctors recommended these treatments after carefully studying the patient’s symptoms. They usually start with traditional modes of topical therapy and then move on to other treatment modes.
Natural remedies and diet changes
Besides medication and therapy, psoriasis and its various types can be managed with home remedies and diet adjustments. Since people with plaque psoriasis experience dry, scaly skin, they are advised to use a moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and soft and prevent itchiness. Patients can also opt for a bath with Epsom salts to soothe the skin.
As far as diet is concerned, plaque psoriasis patients should avoid high-fat foods, such as eggs and dairy products. At the same time, they should consume plenty of fish, fruits, and vegetables. This will help control the inflammation and allow the scaly patches on the skin to heal faster. Also, those foods that can increase the heat in the body must be avoided. However, it is crucial to discuss with a doctor before making significant dietary changes.