Reasons to Call Your Dermatologist About Psoriasis (2022)

Seeing your dermatologist regularly is a must if you have psoriasis. But there may be times you need to call your doctor in between your regularly scheduled visits.

Here are the top reasons people living with psoriasis should check in with their dermatologist.

1. Your Symptoms Aren’t Improving, Even With Treatment

It’s essential to give any new treatment time to work, although exactly how long depends on the drug you’re taking.

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“Drugs that work the slowest are also some of the best,” says Mark Lebwohl, MD, chairman of the dermatology department at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and past chairman of the Psoriasis Task Force of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Some biologic drugs used to treat psoriasis, for example, may take up to three months to work, he notes.

“If you don’t see some benefits at three months, it’s not working,” Dr. Lebwohl explains.

When it comes to topical treatments, such as a corticosteroid, you should typically expect to see some benefits after four weeks.

If you’ve been following your treatment plan as prescribed without results, talk to your doctor about whether it may be time to make an adjustment.

2. You Experience New or Worsening Symptoms

If you’re faithfully sticking to a treatment that has been working but you begin to experience new or worsening symptoms, reach out to your dermatologist. It may be a sign that your treatment has stopped working.

“[Some] people simply seem to get used to therapies,” says Lebwohl. In other words, drugs can become less effective for people over time.

The good news is, with many treatment options available, your doctor will in all likelihood be able to prescribe a new therapy that works for you.

3. Your Symptoms Are Impacting Your Life

If your psoriasis symptoms are getting in the way of your daily activities, you don’t have to just accept it. The many available treatment options help guarantee you can find a new solution that works.

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There’s also one more — perhaps even more pressing — reason to talk to your dermatologist. The symptoms you’re experiencing may be a sign of other health issues, such as systemic inflammation, that can be addressed with the right treatment.

“There’s a price you pay that you might not be aware of when you have inflammation. It’s linked to heart disease, for example,” says Lebwohl. “Think about the future. Are you damaging your joints or increasing your risk of heart disease? It’s not just about the fact that you have skin lesions.”

4. You Notice Changes in Your Nails or Scalp

Nail changes are common in people with psoriasis, according to the AAD. These include:

  • Dents (known as pits)
  • Crumbling
  • White, brown, or yellow discoloration
  • Blood or other buildup under your nails
  • Your nail bed lifting up from your finger

If you’ve just started a new treatment and your nails aren’t getting better, however, that doesn’t mean a drug won’t work. It can take up to three months before you notice improvements in your symptoms — and it takes an additional six months for the white part of the fingernail bed to fully grow out (12 months for toenails).

“The nails lag behind the skin, so you can predict if your nails will clear,” says Lebwohl.

That said, if you’ve given your treatment time to work and you notice your nails aren’t getting better or are getting worse, talk to your dermatologist. He or she may recommend injections with the drug methotrexate or corticosteroids directly into the affected nails.

These can help, although “we try to avoid them because they hurt,” says Lebwohl.

You should also call your dermatologist if you develop symptoms of scalp psoriasis, which include dandruff-like flaking, silvery-white scales, and itching. Scalp psoriasis can be difficult to treat, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), but there are many options available. Your dermatologist can help you develop a treatment plan that works for you.

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5. You Have Joint Pain

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints that affects roughly a third of people with psoriasis, according to the NPF. It causes symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.

It’s essential to talk to your dermatologist if you experience these symptoms. “Some psoriasis drugs work well and some don’t for psoriatic arthritis, so you absolutely need to report these symptoms to your dermatologist,” says Lebwohl.

Developing psoriatic arthritis “may warrant changing your drug or adding something to your treatment,” he notes.

6. You Have Signs of a Skin Infection

Skin infections, including yeast infections, are a common side effect of some but not all psoriasis drugs. “You simply have to treat it,” says Lebwohl.

Usually, that can be done fairly easily with the right medication to treat the infection.

It’s also important for your dermatologist to rule out any other skin infections that aren’t related to psoriasis. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), for example, is a type of bacterial infection that causes a red, swollen, painful bump or infected area on the skin and may be accompanied by a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s one of the most common skin infections in the United States and it’s contagious, tends to recur, and can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, Lebwohl notes.

7. You Have New Health Problems

New health problems could signal a psoriasis complication or related health condition. In addition to psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis can increase your risk of other conditions, including:

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  • Eye infections
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

“Your dermatologist does need to know about major health changes,” Lebwohl says. “If a patient has health problems in an organ other than the skin, they have to tell us, because it definitely impacts the treatment we select.”

8. You Want to Try a Natural Remedy or New Treatment

While herbal or other natural remedies might seem harmless, you should always talk to your dermatologist before trying them, Lebwohl advises.

When tested in the lab, some supplements have been shown to contain steroids that “can have many side effects when used long-term and can lead to psoriasis flares,” he says. Others can interfere with certain medications, he adds.

And although it can wait until your next scheduled appointment, also keep your dermatologist in the loop on any new medicine another doctor prescribes to you, says Lebwohl. He or she can monitor you for potential drug interactions or side effects.

9. You Have Pressing Health Questions

It’s normal for questions to come up between appointments. If you have a pressing concern only your dermatologist can answer, it’s perfectly fine to pick up the phone — or at least it should be.

For example, “when COVID-19 first came up, people were worried if they should stay on their medicine or if it would make them more susceptible or the outcome worse,” says Lebwohl. A dermatologist can offer reassurance and answers based on the latest research.

If your dermatologist generally isn’t available to answer important health questions, you may want to consider a switch. The AAD offers a search tool to help you find a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis.

10. You’re Planning to Get Vaccinated

Traveling to certain places in the world often requires getting certain vaccinations, and then there are more routine shots such as the annual flu shot and, more recently, the COVID-19 vaccine. Before you finalize your plans and schedule your shot, it’s worth talking to the dermatologist treating your psoriasis.

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“Many drugs we use specifically state that you shouldn’t use live vaccines because of the concern that they might either reduce the response to the medication or might even make you get sick when you get vaccinated,” notes Lebwohl.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended by the NPF for all people with psoriasis, including those on systemic treatments, you should also check in with your psoriasis care provider before getting vaccinated, he says.

FAQs

Is it worth seeing a dermatologist for psoriasis? ›

NPF recommends that anyone living with psoriasis see a dermatologist. It's especially important to find a dermatologist who has experience treating psoriasis if: Your disease is flaring or your symptoms are worsening. The treatment(s) recommended by your primary care provider are not working.

What will a dermatologist do for psoriasis? ›

Psoriasis treatments aim to stop skin cells from growing so quickly and to remove scales. Options include creams and ointments (topical therapy), light therapy (phototherapy), and oral or injected medications.

Should psoriasis be referred to a specialist? ›

Most people can be treated by their GP. If your symptoms are particularly severe or not responding well to treatment, your GP may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist). Treatments are determined by the type and severity of your psoriasis, and the area of skin affected.

Is having psoriasis a disability? ›

There is no disability listing for psoriasis but Social Security Administration (SSA) will classify any disability that results from it under dermatitis. Individuals that suffer from a case of psoriasis which meets the requirements for disability benefits due to dermatitis will be approved for social security.

Should I worry if I have psoriasis? ›

For this reason, the Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board recommends seeing a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms: swelling, pain, or stiffness in one or more joints, especially the fingers or toes. pain or tenderness in the lower back, feet, or ankles. joints that feel warm to the touch.

What organs can be affected by psoriasis? ›

The most noticeable symptoms of psoriasis are patches of red, inflamed skin and silvery-white scaly rashes. However, the condition puts a person at risk for many complications, including lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

What is the root cause of psoriasis? ›

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells are replaced more quickly than usual. It's not known exactly why this happens, but research suggests it's caused by a problem with the immune system. Your body produces new skin cells in the deepest layer of skin.

What happens if psoriasis remains untreated? ›

Without treatment, psoriasis can cause symptoms such as itchiness and pain. It can also lead to other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, psoriatic arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.

What can psoriasis be misdiagnosed as? ›

Doctors may misdiagnose or confuse psoriasis with eczema and vice versa. This is because they have a similar appearance, and dermatologists often base their diagnosis on a visual exam. They will usually discuss a person's medical history, as well, which can often be the same for psoriasis and eczema.

What is considered a severe case of psoriasis? ›

Psoriasis is generally considered severe when it affects more than 10% of your body. Psoriasis may also be considered severe if it: cannot be treated with topical medications alone. appears on or in certain locations like the scalp, hands, feet, groin, or between the skin folds.

What blood tests confirm psoriasis? ›

HLA-B27 is a blood test that looks for a genetic marker for psoriatic arthritis — a protein called human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27), which is located on the surface of white blood cells. About 20 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis are positive for HBL-B27, according to CreakyJoints.

Can psoriasis lead to MS? ›

Conclusion: although there are some common genetic linkages in psoriasis and MS, psoriasis does not appear to be more common in patients with MS or their relatives.

Can I claim benefits if I have psoriasis? ›

And if your condition is severe, you also may experience arthritis and other skin complications that can interfere with your ability to work. However, there is good news: if your psoriasis prevents you from working and is expected to last for at least a year (or result in death), you can apply for disability benefits.

Can I get any benefits for psoriasis? ›

If you have psoriasis so severely that it impacts your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

Does the Covid vaccine affect psoriasis? ›

People with psoriasis are at risk for developing a skin flare after the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination.

What Can psoriasis lead to? ›

If you have psoriasis, you're at greater risk of developing other conditions, including: Psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in and around the joints. Temporary skin color changes (post-inflammatory hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation) where plaques have healed.

Does psoriasis ever fully go away? ›

At times, treatment can lead to clear skin and no psoriasis symptoms. The medical term for this is “remission.” A remission can last for months or years; however, most last from 1 to 12 months. Psoriasis is notoriously unpredictable, so it's impossible to know who will have a remission and how long it will last.

What cancers are linked to psoriasis? ›

The researchers found that people with psoriasis had an increased risk of developing cancers including colon, kidney, laryngeal, liver, lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, esophageal, oral, and pancreatic cancers.

Can psoriasis affect your brain? ›

Psoriasis affects your brain chemicals.

These make skin cells grow out of control and form scaly plaques. They also change levels of chemicals in your brain that affect your mood. A cytokine called TNF-alpha may affect brain chemicals like serotonin in a way that could lead to depression.

What food should psoriasis patients avoid? ›

With psoriasis, it's important to avoid foods that can trigger inflammation.
...
Foods to avoid include:
  • wheat and wheat derivatives.
  • rye, barley, and malt.
  • pasta, noodles, and baked goods containing wheat, rye, barley, and malt.
  • certain processed foods.
  • certain sauces and condiments.
  • beer and malt beverages.

What are the 7 types of psoriasis? ›

Types of Psoriasis
  • Guttate Psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis affects roughly 8 percent of people living with psoriasis. ...
  • Pustular Psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis affects about 3 percent of people living with psoriasis. ...
  • Plaque Psoriasis. ...
  • Inverse Psoriasis. ...
  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis.
10 Mar 2021

How I cured my psoriasis permanently? ›

There is no cure for psoriasis. The strategy behind any treatment is to reduce your psoriasis to 1% of your body surface area (a size equal to the front of your hand) or less within three months, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

What medications trigger psoriasis? ›

Certain drugs have been linked strongly to psoriasis. Examples of these include beta-blockers, lithium, antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine, interferons, imiquimod, and terbinafine.

Can psoriasis affect your bowel movements? ›

There's a strong link between psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Crohn's can affect any part of the stomach and intestines; UC usually affects the lower parts of your GI tract, the colon and rectum.

Can high sugar cause psoriasis? ›

Diabetes is considered a risk factor for developing psoriasis and vice versa. Those with severe psoriasis appear to be more at risk of developing diabetes in particular.

What heals psoriasis naturally? ›

The following are nine home remedies that have shown some promising results in providing relief for psoriasis symptoms and may provide some benefit to you.
  • Warm baths. ...
  • Aloe vera. ...
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  • Turmeric (curcumin) ...
  • Oregon grape. ...
  • Maintaining a moderate weight. ...
  • Using a humidifier. ...
  • Stress-relieving activities.
13 Oct 2022

What does autoimmune psoriasis look like? ›

Psoriasis causes patches of thick red skin and silvery scales. Patches are typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of feet, but can affect other places (fingernails, toenails, and mouth).

Can psoriasis lead to other autoimmune diseases? ›

Patients with psoriasis may be more likely to have additional autoimmune disorders, including vitiligo, diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to study results published in Indian Dermatology Online Journal.

Is psoriasis similar to lupus? ›

Psoriasis and lupus are both autoimmune conditions that can affect people's skin. Although they share some symptoms, they are separate disorders. It is possible for a person to have both lupus and psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis. The treatments and complications are different for each disorder.

How much disability do you get for psoriasis? ›

10% Rating for Psoriasis.

When is psoriasis an emergency? ›

Generalised pustular psoriasis is a rare and serious form of psoriasis that usually needs emergency treatment. It causes pustules that develop very quickly on a wide area of skin. The pus consists of white blood cells and is not a sign of infection. The pustules may reappear every few days or weeks in cycles.

Does psoriasis affect mental health? ›

Patients with psoriasis report that they are both physically and mentally affected by the disease. Many say the disease bears a “heavy emotional toll” and report feeling isolated or shunned due to their condition.

What are the early warning signs of psoriatic arthritis? ›

Symptoms
  • Swollen fingers and toes. Psoriatic arthritis can cause a painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes.
  • Foot pain. ...
  • Lower back pain. ...
  • Nail changes. ...
  • Eye inflammation.
2 Oct 2021

Will a skin biopsy show psoriasis? ›

Skin Biopsy

A biopsy is a test in which a pathologist examines skin cells under a microscope to determine whether psoriasis is the cause of symptoms. Dermatologists usually perform what's known as a punch biopsy.

Is biopsy required for psoriasis? ›

Psoriasis is a clinical diagnosis, and a skin biopsy is usually not necessary for classic presentations of the disease. The characteristic lesions are sharply demarcated, scaly, erythematous plaques.

Can dermatologist remove psoriasis? ›

As dermatologists are experts in skin conditions, they have more experience than a primary care doctor in skin-related topics and are able to diagnose and treat more than 3,000 conditions of the skin, hair, and nails, including psoriasis.

Who is the best doctor to treat psoriasis? ›

What Kind of Doctor Treats Psoriasis? It's best to see a board-certified dermatologist. That's a skin doctor with a lot of training. But if you want an appointment quickly, you may need to see your primary doctor.

What happens if I leave my psoriasis untreated? ›

Without treatment, psoriasis can cause symptoms such as itchiness and pain. It can also lead to other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, psoriatic arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.

What is the new pill for psoriasis? ›

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The drug, called deucravacitinib, is the first TYK2 inhibitor approved for the treatment of any disease. It will be sold under the brand name Sotyktu.

What clears psoriasis fast? ›

Fish oil, vitamin D, milk thistle, aloe vera, Oregon grape, and evening primrose oil have all been reported to help ease mild symptoms of psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

How close are we to curing psoriasis? ›

No one knows for certain whether a psoriasis cure will ever be available. However, experts appear hopeful. With today's available treatments, a person in remission can go years without a relapse in symptoms.

How do I know if my psoriasis is severe? ›

It's also considered moderate if it can't be controlled using a skin medication or if it has a significant impact on your quality of life. If more than 10% of your body is affected, or if large areas on your face, palms or soles of your feet have patches, you have severe psoriasis.

Will I have psoriasis forever? ›

Psoriasis medicine: Psoriasis is often a lifelong condition that requires a long-term treatment strategy. Psoriasis tends to come and go unexpectedly. People often have periods when psoriasis calms down. Some may see clear or nearly clear skin during these periods.

Does taking vitamin D help psoriasis? ›

Vitamin D treatment is effective when applied topically to the skin for plaque-type psoriasis. Oral vitamin D supplementation might be effective as an adjuvant treatment option in psoriasis.

Do any vitamins help psoriasis? ›

Biotin (B-7) and B12 have been found to help improve the symptoms of psoriasis. Biotin deficiency is rare and has not been directly linked to healing psoriasis. That being said, biotin supplements may help build a healthy baseline for skin health.

Is there a cure for psoriasis 2022? ›

There is currently no cure for psoriasis.

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