Last updated: June 2018
I got diagnosed with psoriasis in 1963. My first medication was a black tar that smelled so bad no one wanted to be around me; including myself. I can remember the acid shampoos, cyclosporine and light box treatments. I was told these were things that would suppress my immune system. Let's not forget the hours spent in the doctor's office year after year after year. And guess what; after all that, I still had the itching, burning, pain, cracking skin, and flaking everywhere.
The advancement and treatment options for psoriasis have steadily been growing over the last decade or so. There are approximately 7.5 million Americans that suffer from psoriasis and at least 100 million individuals affected worldwide. But for those of us battling psoriasis, we know that it’s much than just a skin disease. People have options nowadays how they choose to treat their psoriasis and what type of method works best for them. Some people even have a combination of treatments. Typical treatments can be broken up into categories like: first-line, biological, topical, homeopathic and prescription treatments.
Advances in biologics
Advancements in psoriasis treatments don’t end with any particular category. In fact, topical creams, prescription drugs and shampoos are ever evolving. However, the biological field has seen the most growth and development in recent months. Some doctors say that this state-of-the-art, advanced treatment technology that can be life changing for certain people with psoriasis. I am on a biologic and also used a topical to help with stubborn spots.
Biologics are made from living cells that target certain parts of the immune system that play a role in psoriasis. Biologics offer a new long-lasting form of treatment that can really change a person life with severe psoriasis. I have had psoriasis for over 50 years; covered over 80% of my body. The crazy thing is that I have always had a dermatologist, but nothing ever seem to help me. I didn’t get any relief from my disease until I was put on a biologic. I thought I had died and went to Heaven. You will have to have walked in my shoes to know how it felt to wear a short sleeve shirt outside for the first time in life. I was in my late forties.
The recent discoveries in biologics over the past few years, have allowed scientists to learn about the effect of biologics and psoriasis on vascular inflammation, and genetic links between psoriasis and autoimmune disorders. Biologics are medicines made from substances found in living things. Doctors inject these lab-made proteins into your skin or bloodstream. Once inside the body, the drug blocks part of your altered immune system that adds to psoriasis.1 Unfortunately, the high cost of this research and treatment has kept the progress moving slower than researchers had hoped for.
Another arena for advancement is the ultraviolet treatment. Phototherapy is available in a form called UVB (narrowband ultraviolet B) light treatment. This particular process is more focused on specific areas of skin and has a much lower risk of skin cancer. This would be good for people who have isolated areas that are worse than others. Additionally, another approach is PUVA or photo chemotherapy, and that combines the UVA light with a drug called psoralen. This combination makes your skin more sensitive to light.
Advancements in natural therapies
For those of you looking for more natural ways to treat your psoriasis, there have been some advancements in fish oils, supplements, vitamin D and essential oils garnering new attention for their powerful effects on keeping psoriasis subdued. Oregano oil is growing in popularity, along with turmeric and magnesium. Why is this new or innovative? It’s the method of application and consumption.
As always above any advancement or treatment to your psoriasis is keeping your stress under control. Stress is the worst enemy for us suffering from psoriasis. I believe it is the underlying problem for many of my outbreaks. I used to be angry at the world.
Always get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, exercise and eating right are key factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping your psoriasis under control and be pain-free.
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