According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 7.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis. Although it can affect people of all ages, it is more common among adults. Laser treatment is one of the newer forms of psoriasis therapy. And according to research, it can clear up the skin by an average 90 percent.
Psoriasis is considered a serious medical condition because, in those who have the condition, there appears to be an increased incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, lymphoma, and heart disease. It also places substantial psychological and emotional burden on people, both in having to deal with the condition and in the cosmetically displeasing appearance of the skin.
But there are ways to live with psoriasis, and it’s unique challenges. If you’re affected, there is a range of effective treatment available, and in particular, laser treatment may be something you’d be interested in trying.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that causes hyper production of skin cells. It can also affect the joints in some people, making them sore and swollen. Psoriasis can also affect the fingernails, toenails, and inside of the mouth, though these symptoms are rarer.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but since the condition can be triggered by diet, stress, medications, skin injury, infection and other factors, researchers know the immune system is largely involved.
The most common symptoms of psoriasis are dry, raised, red patches of skin covered with silvery scales. These are called plaques. These plaques can appear anywhere on the body, but the most common places are the knees, elbows, and scalp.
Psoriasis plaques can vary in size and severity. For some, these plaques are just small spots. For others they are large, scaling plaques that can even seep and bleed, which can be very uncomfortable and even painful.
If you suspect you have psoriasis, a consult at Esteem Medi Spa Brisbane & Gold Coast is the best clinic to evaluate your skin and help you determine which treatment options are best suited for you.
How Is Psoriasis Treated?
There are a range of different treatment options, including:
- Exposure to natural sunlight
- Coal tar preparations
- Salicylic acid
- Corticosteroid creams or ointments
- Vitamin D preparations
- Oral medications (tablets or pills)
- Injected medications
- Ultraviolet light therapy
- Laser therapy
While ultraviolet light therapy has been used for quite some time, “the XTRAC excimer laser is our newest treatment weapon to fight mild to severe cases of plaque psoriasis,” says dermatologist Dr Todd Minars of Hollywood, Florida. “This treatment can also be used to effectively treat vitiligo and small patches of eczema.”
Psoriasis Laser Treatment Explained
The XTRAC laser is a device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating chronic, localised psoriasis plaques.
Excimer lasers deliver ultraviolet light by discharging an exact, concentrated band of ultraviolet light B to confined areas of psoriasis plaques on the body, plaques that are roughly the size of your palm, or smaller. Psoriasis laser treatment is not painful. A session is approximately 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how many areas need treatment. Generally, patients will require an average of 10 to 20 treatment sessions, 2 to 3 times per week.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Dr Minars informs that the side effects can include a sunburn or even a blister. Another side effect may be hyperpigmentation, which is usually temporary but can sometimes take weeks or even months to fade.
Patients should also expect that the knees and elbows will be more difficult to clear and may require more sessions compared to other areas of the body. And the need to have further treatment in future is to be expected, as relapse from treatment is common, ranging from one month to one year.