Treat Distinctive Scaly Plaques in Thousand Oaks
There are many reasons someone may develop dry and red patches on their face or body. If these symptoms are accompanied by the growth of scaly patches, the problem may be a chronic skin condition known as psoriasis. Thousand Oaks’ Dr. Peterson Pierre regularly sees patients who think they are having an allergic reaction, but who are actually showing signs of an autoimmune disorder that can impact anyone of any age.
Since psoriasis can be associated with diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health conditions, it is important to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. The National Psoriasis Foundation® estimates that about 8 million people in the United States deal with the chronic condition.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that can affect patients of all ages and genders, typically by causing skin cells to grow rapidly and form “plaques.”
It is more common on specific areas such as the scalp, knees, and elbows, but it can develop anywhere on the body. The condition can be incredibly uncomfortable, resulting in itching, stinging, and burning sensations. Scratching may not alleviate these feelings—and can, in fact, make the problem worse by causing further irritation, bleeding, and infection.
While psoriasis can manifest at any time, it commonly develops in people between the ages of 15 and 35. Infant psoriasis is rare, but up to 15 percent of patients with the condition saw symptoms start before the age of 10.
Dr. Peterson Pierre can diagnose psoriasis by examining scaly patches closely. He may biopsy the tissue to check it for thickness and inflammation, but blood draws or other tests are not necessary. The diagnostic process can also include a complete medical history, including questions about your family. Genetics seem to play some role in psoriasis, since about a third of all patients with the disease also have a family member who has symptoms.
What Are the Different Forms of Psoriasis?
Dr. Peterson Pierre and his team are experienced in diagnosing and treating psoriasis for patients young and old. He is also trained in recognizing the various types of psoriasis that can develop. Some of the more common types he sees include:
- plaque, which forms silvery patches of thickened skin and can also impact fingernails and toenails with discoloration and pitting
- guttate, characterized by red dots shaped like teardrops, more commonly found on children and young adults
- inverse, found in folds and creases of the body, such as the groin, below the breasts, and armpits
- pustular, which can cause the hands and feet to develop painful blisters
There is also erythrodermic psoriasis, a rare and potentially life-threatening form that develops in spotty red sheets that can cover the entire body. This type can cause severe pain and itching sensations, as well as cause changes in heart rate and body temperature.
A related condition is psoriatic arthritis, with inflammation in the body causing joint pain. About one in three patients dealing with skin plaques will also have joint problems, though one does not necessarily cause the other.
What Causes Psoriasis and Triggers Outbreaks?
Researchers are continuing their work into determining the causes of psoriasis, but the most current theory is that people suffering from the condition have specific genetic factors triggered by some sort of stimulus, from stress or injury to medications or infection.
In general, anything that taxes the body may trigger initial or subsequent flare-ups. Strep throat is a known trigger of guttate psoriasis, in particular. Medical professionals have also theorized that allergies, certain foods, and even changes in the weather can prompt plaques to form.
What Can Be Done About Psoriasis?
At this time, there is no known cure for psoriasis. However, with accurate diagnosis, it can be effectively managed. Topical treatment to normalize rapid cell reproduction is usually Dr. Peterson Pierre’s first option. Other treatment possibilities he may discuss include oral medications, injectable biologics, and light therapy. Getting psoriasis under control can be a life-changing experience.
Dr. Pierre can also help to identify possible triggers. Once the condition has been properly diagnosed, knowing these triggers can help prevent flare-ups. Triggers may include increased stress, injury to the skin, or certain types of medications for other conditions such as high blood pressure or psychiatric disorders. Telling Dr. Pierre about any medications you are taking is essential during an evaluation to check for contraindications or to find out if there is a link between a specific prescription and your flare-ups.
While aspects of psoriasis are still not fully understood by the medical community, there are many ways to help reduce the chances of an outbreak and ease the discomfort of plaques that do form.
Dr. Peterson Pierre
As a Stanford Medical School graduate and dermatologist certified by the American Board of Dermatology, Dr. Peterson Pierre ("the Gentle Injector") is a highly respected leader in the industry with a reputation for exceeding patient expectations.
Why Choose Pierre Skin Care Institute for Psoriasis Care in Thousand Oaks?
When dealing with any chronic skin condition—especially one with such potentially severe symptoms as psoriasis—it is important to work with an experienced and board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Peterson Pierre is trained in medical dermatology, giving him particular insight into psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and more. He keeps current with the latest research, as well as emerging treatments and technologies, all with a goal of helping his patients to live their best lives possible.