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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Psoriasis is a long-term skin disease in which the skin cells grow faster than normal. This abnormal growth causes a buildup of cells on the surface of the skin. Red, raised patches of skin that are covered with silver-colored scales form on your skin.
- Topical medicine: These medicines can be ointments, creams, and pastes and are applied on the skin.
- Moisturizers: These soothe your skin by keeping it moist and preventing dryness.
- Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.
- Vitamin D and retinoids: These are vitamin-based creams that are used to clear plaques.
- Anthralin: This medicine decreases swelling and excess skin cells that form scales.
- Salicylic acid: This peeling agent helps decrease scaling of the skin and scalp.
- Tar preparations: These medicines decrease your itching, scaling, and inflammation. They may be shampoos, creams, or bath oils.
- Oral medicine: These medicines are used to treat serious types of psoriasis and are taken by mouth. These medicines include steroids or retinoids. They may also include medicines that decrease the rate of growth of your skin cells or that affect your immune system.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or dermatologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Take care of your skin: Apply emollients, lubricants, or moisturizing creams to your skin regularly. Apply these while your skin is still damp when you bathe. Stop using them if they sting or irritate your skin. Use mild soaps and add bath oils to soothe your skin when you bathe.
- Protect your skin from sun exposure: When you get sun exposure for short periods of time, it can help your psoriasis. Too much sun exposure or a sunburn can make your psoriasis worse. Talk to your dermatologist or healthcare provider about how much sun exposure is right for you.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger a flare-up. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as deep breathing or meditation.
- Watch for symptoms with new medicines or herbal supplements: Some medicines, including herbal supplements, may trigger a psoriasis flare-up. Ask if any of the medicines you take may be making your psoriasis worse. Always check for skin changes when you take your medicines.
- Do not smoke: Smoking can trigger a flare-up of psoriasis. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop.
- Avoid triggers: Injury to the skin, cold weather, and heavy alcohol use are other things that can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You get pregnant.
- You have a fever.
- Your skin plaques are not getting better or are getting worse.
- You cannot sleep because your skin itches.
- Your skin plaques have pus draining from them or they have soft yellow scabs.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Psoriasis suddenly covers larger areas of your body and becomes more painful.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.