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How Is Guttate Psoriasis Treated?

Skin conditions range from mild and short-lived to serious and chronic. Psoriasis, an auto-immune disease that accelerates the growth cycle of your skin cells and is linked to other bodily systems as well, annually affects more than 8 million people living in the United States. It can affect anyone at any age, but typically shows up in two common age ranges: 20-30 years old and 50-60 years old. 

There are seven main types of psoriasis, each with distinct symptoms and physical characteristics. The most common is plaque psoriasis, affecting almost 7.5 million Americans. At Chappell Rosso Dermatology and Laser & Aesthetic Center in Odessa, Texas, we see every type of psoriasis and treat each with expertise and compassion. 

Here, our experienced team, including Dr. Ritchie Rosso Jr. and Dr. Robert Chappell Jr., discusses guttate psoriasis, the second-most common type of this skin condition. 

Symptoms of guttate psoriasis

Each type of psoriasis looks a bit different — some are red patches, some are pustules, some are itchy and painful. Guttate psoriasis shows up as distinct teardrop-shaped red lesions. In fact, the name comes from the Latin word guttate, which means “drop.” 

But you don’t just get one or two spots; they come in the hundreds and cover areas of your skin like a large rash. Unlike their thicker, scalier cousin plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis sports smaller, thinner scales. They can appear anywhere on your body, but most frequently show up on:

Although these are the most common locations, don’t be surprised if you see signs of guttate psoriasis under your nails (toes and fingers) or even on or in your mouth.

Why do I have guttate psoriasis?

Like other types of psoriasis, no one knows for sure what causes guttate psoriasis. That said, the prevailing theories point to various triggers that kick your immune system into high gear and cause it to overreact. 

One of the main culprits is strep throat, a bacterial infection. It may also be triggered by tonsilitis or respiratory infections.

Some believe that guttate psoriasis can be brought on by high levels of stress, hormonal disorders, certain drugs (beta-blockers and antimalarials), skin injuries, and even excess alcohol consumption.

Whatever the cause, it’s important to know that psoriasis isn’t contagious. But keep in mind that if it’s accompanied by a viral or bacterial infection, those definitely are contagious.

Will guttate psoriasis go away on its own?

There is no cure for psoriasis, so no, it won’t go away on its own. However, you can control the symptoms and the flare-ups. 

At-home treatments

You can do a lot to keep your symptoms mild and less frequent. A bath with Epsom salts helps slough off dead cells and reduce inflammation. It also soothes and hydrates your skin.

Exercise can also help. Although it seems indirect, keeping your body strong and fit helps regulate your metabolism, which may become sluggish when you have guttate psoriasis.

Medication

If you have a mild case of guttate psoriasis, we may start your treatment with topical creams and ointments. If the lesions are on your scalp, a high-quality dandruff shampoo can ease your symptoms.

If necessary, we may prescribe oral medication to fight infection and reduce inflammation.

Phototherapy

We also have high rates of success using phototherapy to reduce flare-ups of guttate psoriasis. This is a painless, noninvasive treatment that exposes your skin to controlled amounts of UVB light. 

We use narrow-band UVB (as opposed to wide-band UVB) light for its superior results. This technology gets the job done faster and more safely than wide-band UVB light. 

What happens if you don’t treat your guttate psoriasis?

Because treatments for guttate psoriasis are convenient, there’s no reason to suffer through outbreaks and flare-ups. If you ignore it, you can expect severe discomfort, pain, itching, and sometimes skin infections.

The worst case scenarios occur when guttate psoriasis evolves into more serious problems such as:

Don’t wait for your guttate psoriasis to cause these complications. Protect your skin and your overall health by making an appointment with our team for a complete evaluation of your skin. Call us today, or request an appointment online and get your guttate psoriasis under control.

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