Sunlight May Also Be Able To Help Treat Depression And Anxiety Common Comorbidities Of Psoriasis
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, depression is one of the main comorbidities of psoriasis, but sunlight exposure may be able to help. Without sufficient exposure to the sun, the brain may not make enough serotonin the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and happiness. Research indicates that sunlight exposure may also be able to help people suffering from anxiety and that it could be even more important for people with psoriasis who also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder . A daily dose of turmeric may also be helpful.
The Sun And Psoriasis
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30.
- Use sunscreen every day if you are going to be in the sun for more than 20 minutes.
- Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors.
- When applying sunscreen, generously coat the skin and pay particular attention to your face, ears, hands and arms.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or right after swimming or strenuous activity.
- Don’t forget to wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays.
If you want to try spending time in the sunshine to improve your psoriasis, experts recommend sunbathing at least 3 times/week and keeping a record of what time of day and for how long you are exposed to the sun. To get the most from the sun, give all affected areas equal and adequate exposure, but avoid overexposure. Be aware that it can take several weeks or longer to see any improvement, and it’s a good idea to see your dermatologist regularly to monitor your skin for sun damage.For more information about treating your psoriasis, consult your doctor and go to Psoriasis treatment and skincare patient portal
The Role Of Sunlight With Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a long-term, chronic skin disease that causes red, scaly, itchy patches on the skin. Most patches of psoriasis occur on the elbows, knees, trunk, and scalp. Most people who suffer from this skin disease typically find that it goes through cycles, having flareups for a few weeks or months, and then the symptoms will subside or go into remission. Although mild psoriasis may be treated easily, severe psoriasis can be challenging to treat and become frustrating and embarrassing for patients.
A factor that can play a significant role in a persons battle with psoriasis is the weather. Many people who have psoriasis find that the sun helps improve their skins appearance. In fact, some people in warm climates experience almost completely clear skin during the summer months. While it is very tempting to read that and think that you need to go out and sunbathe for a couple of hours each day, there are precautions.
Medical Dermatology Specialists has the experience and expertise you need to get long-term solutions for your chronic skin disease. Contact our Atlanta Psoriasis Treatment Experts today for the most advanced treatments available for psoriasis.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100Atlanta, GA 30328
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While Were On The Topic Of Topicals What About Vitamin D Analogues
A vitamin D analogue is synthetic vitamin D that usually comes in topical form and requires a prescription.
When applied directly to affected skin, analogue vitamin D topicals help slow cell growth and thin out any plaques.
Popular vitamin D analogues include:
In more severe cases, your doc may recommend using both an analogue vitamin D option and a corticosteroid for symptom relief.
Before Getting In The Water
- Moisturize: Applying a thin layer of moisturizer or petroleum jelly can protect against harsh chemicals.
- Apply sunscreen: Anyone swimming outdoors may have a risk of sunburn, which can trigger a psoriasis flare.
- Choose products carefully: A broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is best for people doing water activities. For a moisturizer, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a fragrance-free product, preferably a thick cream or ointment.
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The Dermatologists Point Of View
Patients suffering from psoriasis present a broad range of clinical phenotypes. Psoriatic lesions are classified into plaque, guttate, pustular, and erythrodermic types according to clinical features, especially regarding lesions size and distribution . Disease onset may occur at any age, including childhood, with two peak age ranges, 16 to 22 and 57 to 60 years . Psoriasis lesions are characterized by hyper-proliferation with incomplete differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes and decreased keratinocyte apoptosis, associated with inflammatory cellular infiltrate in both dermis and epidermis . Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score is currently the preferred method for the assessment of the disease severity and extent .
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed
In most cases, a dermatologist with our practice will conduct a physical exam, take a medical history, and perform a skin biopsy in order to diagnose psoriasis. During the physical examination, the doctor examines the patients skin, scalp, and nails for signs of psoriasis and discusses with the patient their medical history and asks questions about their overall health, lifestyle, and habits. Rarely, the doctor may take a small sample of skin and proceed to examine the sample under a microscope to determine the exact type of psoriasis and to rule out other skin conditions and disorders.
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While Moderate Sunlight Can Be Helpful Sunburns Can Actually Make Psoriasis Worse
Sunburns from too much sun exposure can cause new psoriatic plaques at the site of the burn, in a process sometimes known as the Koebner phenomenon. The Koebner phenomenon can affect one in four people with psoriasis, and can also be triggered by cuts, scrapes, or mosquito bites. No matter what, too much sun exposure can increase your risk of developing melanoma skin cancer which is just another reason to be careful and responsible when you go out in the sun.
What Is Ultraviolet Light
The energy in sunlight ranges in wavelength from about 2500nm down to 280nm. Visible light lies between about 400nm in the violet to 700nm in the deep red. Beyond 700nm is infrared, which is felt as heat. Infrared is strongly absorbed by water, so when clouds pass in front of the sun we immediately feel the reduction in warmth. Wavelengths shorter than 400nm are ultraviolet: our atmosphere protects us from wavelengths shorter than 280nm, so we are exposed to ultraviolet wavelengths from 280- 400nm. This region of sunlight is arbitrarily split into long-wave ultraviolet A from 315nm 400nm, and short-wave ultraviolet B from 280-315nm.
On its own, UVA is not effective in improving psoriasis, which is why psoralen is used to sensitise the skin before exposure to UVA. However, UVB is very effective at improving psoriasis, providing that the plaques are not too thick or reflective. So, sunlight can help psoriasis by virtue of the UVB wavelengths it contains. The UVB wavelengths in sunlight are also very effective at causing the production of vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D is essential for bone and skin health. For more information about the use of artificial sunlight see Psoriasis and Phototherapy.
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Cover Up With Clothing
Clothing, especially when made from tightly woven fabric, offers great protection against UV rays. Unlike sunscreen, which can wear off over time, clothing offers consistent protection throughout the day. Long-sleeved shirts with a high neck and long pants or skirts are ideal, because they cover and protect more skin.
When choosing clothing that will shield you from the suns rays, look for itsultraviolet protection factor, or UPF, rating. This number can be found on some clothing, hats, and fabrics. It indicates what fraction of the suns UV rays can penetrate through the fabric to reach your skin. A T-shirt with a UPF of 40, for instance, protects you from all but one-fortieth of UV radiation.
The CDC offers some helpful information for determining which articles of clothing will provide the best protection. Darker-colored fabrics offer better protection than lighter colors, while wet clothing provides far less UV protection than dry clothes. Its important to note that the typical T-shirt offers minimal UV protection, so youll need to use additional types of sun protection.
Sunglasses protect both the eyes and the tender skin around them from harmful UV rays. As one MyPsoriasisTeam member shared, Sunshine always makes me feel better, although my eyes stream with tears if I do not wear my sunglasses.
Another noted that their eyes seem to be very sensitive to the light, although eye drops and sunglasses have helped a lot.
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Cost And Health Insurance
The cost of phototherapy can vary by your location and the type of procedure performed. Health insurance may cover some of the cost of treatment, but almost invariably requires prior authorization.
Check with your insurance company to find if phototherapy is covered in your schedule of benefits and what your copay or coinsurance costs will be.
Is Psoriasis Fungal Or Bacterial
Psoriasis happens due to an overactive immune system that attacks healthy skin cells. This overreaction speeds up the production of new skin cells, causing the symptoms of psoriasis. Candida is a type of yeast that can cause a fungal infection called candidiasis. When this develops in the mouth, it is called thrush.
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What Can Trigger A Flare
A trigger is anything that causes symptoms to increase. Triggers vary from person to person, so what triggers a flare for one person may not produce a flare in another. The weather, for example, may trigger a flare. Warm weather often can improve psoriasis when there is more natural sunlight and higher humidity. It also may lessen joint pain and stiffness for those with PsA. However, the warm weather and some warm weather activities, like walking, hiking or swimming, may trigger a flare.
Uv Light Therapy For Moderate To Severe Cases
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology. He is a clinical professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, and co-founder and practicing dermatologist at the Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Colorado.
, also known as UV light therapy, is one of the most effective treatments for psoriasis. It involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of ultraviolet radiation similar to that from the sun. It is usually prescribed with other treatments when conservative therapies fail to provide relief and is especially useful for moderate to severe psoriasis covering large portions of the body.
Phototherapy is performed in a dermatologist’s office under controlled conditions. Side effects tend to be mild. In addition to psoriasis, phototherapy may also be used to treat eczema, vitiligo, lichen planus, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
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Why Does The Sun Help Psoriasis And How Can I Take Advantage
Most psoriasis patients have heard about UV therapy. UV light helps to suppress the immune response which is overactive in psoriasis patients, which is the cause of the plaques, which is dead skin that is being produced too quickly and prematurely. Sunlight helps slow down this process and many patients will find that their plaques go away or are significantly reduced during the summer. Sunbathing in moderation can help improve your psoriasis as long as you protect your skin properly. Use sunscreen on areas of the skin that are unaffected by psoriasis, and don’t stay in the sun long enough to cause a sunburn. Excessive exposure is both bad for your skin in the long-term, and can actually cause your psoriasis to flare.
Healing Potential Of Sunlight
Sunlight can resolve many cases of psoriasis, at least temporarily. Some people find their symptoms come close to disappearing during the summer months in warm, sunny climates.
The reason why sunlight is powerful is due to its UVB rays. Sunlight is composed of ultraviolet light, consisting of UVA and UVB rays. The UVB rays slow the rapid rate of skin growth that appears as psoriasis.
Ultraviolet light is so powerful in easing psoriasis symptoms that its used in phototherapy. If you dont live in a sunny climate, a special light box emits the healing rays. Although UVB is the effective wavelength for psoriasis treatment, UVA may be prescribed for phototherapy in combination with medications called psoralens. These medications, applied topically or taken orally, sensitize your skin to the UVA treatment so it works better.
The National Psoriasis Foundation warns against using conventional tanning beds for psoriasis treatment. The wavelengths in these beds contain more UVA than UVB, which increases your risk for photoaging and skin cancer. The UVA rays alone are less effective in easing psoriasis plaques, too.
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Is Psoriasis Contagious
Psoriasis is not contagious. Patients with psoriasis cannot pass the condition to others unaffected by psoriasis. Touching a psoriatic lesion on another individual will not result in the transmission of the skin condition. For more information about psoriasis or other common skin conditions or to schedule a dermatologist appointment, please contact our office.
Skin Safety In The Sun
Sometimes people with psoriasis are slightly embarrassed by their condition and face a dilemma during summer months. They have heard that the sun is good for their condition, yet they hesitate to reveal any more of their skin than they have to.
You aren’t alone if you wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, even on the hottest summer days, and never sunbathe on the beach or venture into the water. However, this may mean that you miss out on a lot of fun during the summer. Most people feel they look their best in the summer, and when you feel good, you look good too. Often, the more self-conscious you are about your psoriasis, the more upset it might make you, which can cause stress that may actually worsen your symptoms!
So if your skin might benefit from sunlight, it could well be worth letting it be safely exposed to the sun. Whether you will be helped by sunlight – real or artificial – depends on many factors, such as the type of psoriasis, your age, and the various forms of treatment you may have tried. You should first get advice from your doctor and dermatologist about whether you should try sunlight.
You are at the highest risk of sunburn if you are fair or red-haired and your skin does not tan easily. Certain medications, such as antibiotics and retinoids , may also increase the risk of sunburn.
If your skin does react well to the sun, follow these guidelines to stay safe:
What Are The Types Of Light Therapy For Psoriasis
The NPF reports that there are several different types of light therapy, each with their own specific pros and cons. Types of phototherapy include:
Most dermatologists warn against using tanning beds or sun lamps to try to treat the condition on your own and the NPF does not support the use of indoor tanning beds as a substitute for phototherapy performed with a prescription and under the supervision of a physician. Only medical professionals should provide and advertise light therapy for the treatment of psoriasis. One reason why is because commercially available tanning beds and sunlamps emit more UVA light than UVB, which may be more likely to burn the skin, speed aging and elevate risk for cancer. UVA light is also less effective than UVB, unless its being used in combination with a compound called psoralen as part of a PUVA treatment. Using psoralen in combination with a tanning bed is not recommended, as it may result in severe sunburn, the NPF reports.
Vitamins And Psoriatic Disease
There is no direct link between vitamins and dietary supplements and psoriatic disease. However, many with psoriatic disease find that including vitamins and supplements in their diet helps their skin clear and may ease joint pain.
Dietary supplements can be extracts or concentrates, and they can occur in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids or powders.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness. This can also lead to an inconsistency when it comes to active ingredients. Itâs important that you talk to your doctor before adding any vitamins or supplements to your treatment plan, as some may interfere with your medications.
Here are some of the more popular vitamins and supplements used to combat psoriatic disease.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Light Therapy For Psoriasis
Because light therapy doesnt involve any kind of surgical procedure or ingesting medications, its considered very safe with few side effects. Light therapy can be a good option for pregnant women, who cant take systemic treatments, such as methotrexate or biologic medications, Kaffenberger says. This is because some of the systemic treatments can cause serious side effects that could harm the fetus. But with light therapy, the side effects are fewer and limited to the skin.
But there are some drawbacks. Gelfand says light therapy tends to work best on guttate and plaque psoriasis, but it doesnt usually help much when dealing with psoriasis lesions on certain parts of the body, and its not the right answer for all patients. It doesnt work well in the scalp because its covered by hair, making it difficult for the light rays to penetrate. And if you have psoriasis in the genital area, that can be a tricky area to treat. You have to protect the genitals because theyre sensitive to burns and skin cancers, Gelfand says. Therefore, the ideal candidate is someone who has plaque or guttate psoriasis on the arms, legs and trunk. Kaffenberger adds that in some patients, it can actually worsen psoriasis, and theres no easy way to discern ahead of time who will see a worsening of symptoms or an improvement.