As anyone with psoriasis knows, this lifelong inflammatory condition is more than just an irritation. It’s painful, cracked skin. Itching, burning and redness. Joint pain. Maybe feeling embarrassed to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts.
But no matter how psoriasis affects your life, you can feel better knowing there’s a team of experts on your side. Cleveland Clinic is home to experienced dermatologists (skin specialists) with in-depth knowledge of what psoriasis is all about. And they’ll use the most up-to-date therapies out there to help you get long-term relief.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Psoriasis Care?
There are several kinds of psoriasis, and the condition can affect your body and emotions in many ways. Your dermatologist will work closely with other specialists, including your primary care provider, to help you manage psoriasis and any related health conditions. Meet our team.
If you have psoriasis, you might also have psoriatic arthritis, a painful joint disease. Cleveland Clinic dermatologists team up with our expert rheumatologists to provide coordinated care if you have both of these conditions.
Many of our dermatologists offer virtual visits for appointments and follow-ups to see how your treatment is working. You’ll get the same great, personal care you’d get from an in-person visit, all from the comfort and privacy of home.
Psoriasis treatment may be different for children, adults over 65 and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding (chestfeeding). Your provider will build a safe, personalized care plan based on your stage of life and changing needs.
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Psoriasis Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
The right diagnosis is the first step toward effective treatment. Psoriasis can look the same as other skin conditions, like eczema.
First, your healthcare provider will do a physical exam. They’ll check your skin closely, looking for the telltale signs of thick, scaly red patches (plaques). Make sure you point out any areas where you have skin irritation, like your elbows, knees, scalp, groin, palms or bottoms of your feet.
Psoriasis can affect more than your skin, so it’s a good idea to tell your provider about any other symptoms you have. This information can help your provider find out what type of psoriasis you have. It can also help them learn if you’re at risk for any other conditions, like psoriatic arthritis. Tell your provider about:
- Belly pain.
- Bleeding gums.
- Changes in how often you urinate (pee).
- Eye problems.
- Joint pain or stiffness.
- Mood changes.
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
Your provider might also ask you about your family medical history. Do your siblings, parents or grandparents have psoriasis? The condition tends to run in families.
Finally, your provider might do a skin biopsy. They’ll take a small sample of your skin and send it to a lab to have it examined under a microscope. Not everyone needs a biopsy, but your provider might want to rule out other skin conditions or diseases to help ensure the correct diagnosis.
Providers Who Treat Psoriasis
LocationsOur healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.
Psoriasis Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
Psoriasis is a chronic condition that won’t ever completely go away, but there are a lot of therapies that can help you feel better and improve or clear your skin. Your dermatologist will choose treatments based on the type of psoriasis you have, where it is on your body and how bad it is.
Sometimes you can treat mild psoriasis without a prescription. Ask your provider about over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, like:
- Fragrance-free moisturizers.
- Hydrocortisone creams or ointments.
- Products containing coal tar.
- Scale softeners with salicylic acid.
If your psoriasis is more severe, you might need more targeted treatment. Your provider may recommend a combination of the following therapies:
- Topical medications: You can apply topical medications directly to your skin. They come as creams, ointments or shampoos. They reduce redness, itch and inflammation. Common options include: corticosteroids, retinoids or Vitamin D analogues.
- Phototherapy: Phototherapy (light therapy) for psoriasis exposes your skin to ultraviolet (UV) light, reducing itch and inflammation. It may also make your skin cells grow slower, which can help with those thick, scaly plaques.
- Immunosuppressants: Immunosuppressants target parts of immune cells that cause inflammation. You can take immunosuppressants as a pill or injection (shot). Methotrexate is one of the most common immunosuppressants given for psoriasis.
- Biologics: Biologics for psoriasis work by blocking specific parts of your immune system that cause the skin inflammation or joint pain. You can take biologics as an injection or IV (through a vein in your arm). You might take a biologic every few weeks or months for several years.
- Small Molecule Inhibitors: Oral medications like apremilast and deucravacitinib block processes happening inside the cells of your immune system that would otherwise lead to increased psoriasis inflammation. You typically take these medications every day.
Taking the Next Step
Psoriasis isn’t just skin-deep. It can also cause arthritis and make you more likely to develop depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular conditions. If you have this frustrating autoimmune disorder, it’s time to get help. Our team of experts is standing by to give you the answers and treatments you need.
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