Have you been having problems with your skin lately, and you aren't sure what it is? Do you have red patches, itching, dry and cracked skin, or bleeding? If you have more than one of these symptoms in combination, you might be suffering from something a little more severe than routine winter dry skin; it's called psoriasis.
There is no reason to be embarrassed if you think you might have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a very common skin condition that affects millions of Americans with a very wide range of ages and medical backgrounds. Fortunately, psoriasis is diagnosed and treated very easily because of how common it is.
Researching Types of Psoriasis
Before meeting with your primary care physician or a dermatologist, it could be helpful to research the different types of psoriasis and their unique characteristics. The internet has made it easy to find information on the following six types of psoriasis:
- Plaque psoriasis
- Guttate psoriasis
- Inverse psoriasis
- Pustular psoriasis
- Erythrodermic psoriasis
- Nail psoriasis
Talking to a Dermatologist
If you suspect you have a form of psoriasis, ask your general practitioner if you should see a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes only in skin. While you can go and see a general practitioner to treat some skin conditions, it's often a better idea to see a specialist.
It can be embarrassing or daunting to have to see a dermatologist about a skin condition, but once you get there, you'll realize that it isn't a difficult process. Dermatologists are trained to deal with exactly what you are going through, and chances are, they have seen your exact condition before hundreds of times.
So what will you need to say when you visit a dermatologist suspecting that you have psoriasis? He or she will probably ask you what your symptoms are, how long you have been suffering with your symptoms, and what parts of the body are affected. Then, your dermatologist will probably ask to see the areas that are causing you trouble. Usually a dermatologist can tell if an area has psoriasis without doing very extensive testing or taking any samples of your skin.
Sadly, psoriasis is incurable, but that doesn't mean that relief isn't easy. The dermatologist will probably prescribe you a topical ointment for your problem areas. Many ointments are vitamin D-based, and they help reduce inflammation and redness while shedding the "scales" that psoriasis sometimes gives you. You can have anywhere from very mild to severe psoriasis, so the ointments come in different strengths. The dermatologist will know exactly what you need.