What causes psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown; however, researchers
suspect that whether a person develops psoriasis or not may depend
on a "trigger." Possible psoriasis triggers include
emotional stress, skin injury, systemic infections, and certain
medications. Studies have also indicated that a person is born
genetically predisposed to psoriasis, and multiple genes have
been discovered over the past 5 years confirming this fact. Even
so, not everyone with psoriasis will
What treatment are available?
Treatments for psoriasis are topical (applied to the skin),
systemic (taken internally), or a form of phototherapy (ultraviolet
light applied to the skin). The most effective treatments are
those prescribed by the physician and not available without a
prescription. One treatment that is often effective, and is available
without prescription and without cost, is sunlight. However, a
dermatologist should recommend the safe and effective use of sunlight
for the individual patient.
Topical agents include:
- Coal tar
- Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives)
- Vitamin D derivatives
Systemic agents include:
- Antimetabolite drugs (methotrexate)
- Immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory drugs (cyclosporin,
- Systemic retinoids—acitretin, isotretinoin
- Phototherapy—ultraviolet light
What effect does the sun have on psoriasis?
Natural sunlight can have a positive effect on psoriasis. The
long-known benefits of sunlight provided the basis for the development
of ultraviolet light therapy for treating psoriasis and other
skin diseases. However, you should never get enough sun exposure
to turn your skin red or cause a sunburn, which can actually cause
psoriasis to flare-up and worsen.