How To Use Sun Exposure To Treat Your Psoriasis Without Overdoing It

While psoriasis patients have been noticing improvements in the summer months for decades, only relatively recently have dermatologists conclusively linked sun exposure and improvements in skin condition with this disorder. Of course, it’s easy to overdo the sun therapy and end up in worse shape than before you headed outdoors. Find out how to get sun exposure for psoriasis control without hurting yourself in the process.

The Power of UV Rays

Both UVA and UVB rays, which are already combined by the sun, work to reduce the excessive skin cell growth that accompanies psoriasis. However, most dermatologists use UVA rays alone when offering phototherapy to their patients. Since UVB rays are more effective, choosing to do a controlled amount of sunbathing each week could greatly reduce your symptoms and help you use less or no medication for your condition.

The Guidelines for Exposure

Of course, too much time in the sun leads to burned skin, increased psoriasis symptoms, and higher risks for skin cancer. The exact amount of time needed for exposure therapy varies greatly depending on your current tan level and your skin’s natural pigment level, with fairer people needing dramatically less time than darker skinned individuals. In general, most patients see good effects when getting 30 minutes of sun exposure a day, preferably during the morning or evening when the rays are less direct

The Importance of Humidity

It’s not just the increased amount of sun exposure that brings many psoriasis patients relief during the summer months. Increased air humidity also helps reduce cracking and itchiness. If you’re going to be spending time in the sun on a daily basis to reduce your skin cell growth, consider bringing along a spray bottle or using a hydrating and non-reactive lotion product before exposure so you don’t get dried out.

The Alternatives for Phototherapy

Finally, consider letting a dermatologist handle the phototherapy if you’re particularly fair skinned, have a very severe case of psoriasis, or have risk factors for skin cancer. It’s safer to let a doctor handle the application of specialized UV rays in the office setting so you can get the maximum effects without burning or cancer development. Dermatologists can use medications that increase the skin’s ability to absorb light in the UV spectrum, allowing to get a stronger effect in far less time and with less damage to the surrounding skin. Office phototherapy visits are also targeted to only affect the psoriasis growths.

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4 Things You Need To Know About Laser Skin Resurfacing For Acne Scars

Acne scars are an unpleasant reminder of pimples, but they’re very common. It’s been reported that 95% of people who’ve suffered from acne vulgaris have acne scars. Acne scars on your face can become more noticeable as your skin ages or experiences sun damage, and these noticeable scars can make you feel depressed, anxious or embarrassed. Fortunately, these scars can be treated with laser skin resurfacing. Here are four things you need know about treating your acne scars with laser skin resurfacing. 

How is this procedure performed?

Laser skin resurfacing takes between thirty minutes and two hours, depending on how many scars are being treated. Your doctor will treat your scars with pulses of laser light. This light will destroy your epidermis—the outermost layer of your skin—and cause a wound. It will also heat up your dermis—the layer of skin beneath your epidermis—which shrinks the collagen fibers. While that may sound unpleasant, your face will be numbed before the procedure starts, so don’t worry about feeling any pain during the procedure.

How does this help people with acne scars?

Since your skin is damaged by this treatment, it will need to heal itself. A new epidermal layer will form on your skin, and since this new skin has never had pimples, it will be smoother than your old epidermal layer. Plus, this new skin will be tighter because of the shrunken collagen fibers in the dermal layer.

What can you expect during recovery?

Laser skin resurfacing creates wounds on your skin, so you’ll have crusts or scabs on your face afterwards. It’s important not to pick at these scabs; doing so can create scars. It can take up to two weeks for new skin to completely cover the treated areas, according to Mayo Clinic.

The appearance of your skin may not be ideal in the months after your treatment. The newly-grown skin may be noticeably red for several months afterwards, and you may find that your skin is more sensitive to sunlight than it used to be. Wearing sunscreen can help protect your new skin from sunburns or sun damage.   

How effective is this procedure?

Laser skin resurfacing can be an effective treatment for acne scars. One study of sixty patients assessed people with moderate to severe acne scars six months after their last laser skin resurfacing treatment. Of these patients, 43% experienced an excellent reduction in the appearance of their scars, while 25% experienced a good reduction and 31.7% experienced a poor reduction. People with superficial scars experienced better results, while people with deeply pitted scars experienced poorer results.

If your acne scars are deeply pitted, you may not get the results you want from laser skin resurfacing. Your dermatologist can recommend more appropriate treatments, such as dermal fillers that can even out the pits.

If you’re bothered by the acne scars on your face, ask your dermatologist (such as one from East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC) if laser skin resurfacing is an appropriate treatment for you.

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Is It Seborrheic Dermatitis Or Psoriasis?

If you have a skin condition that resembles psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, you might be having a hard time figuring out which one it is. Both of these skin conditions look quite similar to each other, but they’re two distinct skin disorders. This guide will help you to understand which one you have, and it’ll explain what you should do if you have either one.

Symptom Breakdown

Visually, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis have a lot of similarities to one another. Here are some of the things that they have in common:

  • Red, Irritated Skin – Both diseases cause skin inflammation that makes the skin appear reddish and inflamed.
  • Scales – Both diseases can cause skin scales, a form of skin buildup that may take the shape of rings or large patches.
  • Cracked Skin – If left untreated, both conditions can cause the skin to crack.

However, there are some distinct differences between the symptoms of these two skin conditions, too. Here are some psoriasis-only symptoms:

  • Ridged Fingernails – Psoriasis isn’t limited to affecting the skin, while seborrheic dermatitis is. As a result, psoriasis can attack the fingernails, resulting in thicker or pitted fingernails.
  • Painful Joints – Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder, meaning that the immune system attacks healthy cells. Due to this, psoriasis can also have an effect on the inside of your body, making joints swollen and painful.

On the other hand, here are the exclusive symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis:

  • Patches In Oily Areas – Seborrheic dermatitis mostly occurs in the oily parts of the body or places you tend to sweat, like your scalp, around your nose, near your eyebrows, or in skin folds.
  • Improves With Exposure to Sunlight – Sunlight controls the growth of the yeast responsible for seborrheic dermatitis, so some people find relief after being out in the daylight.

Treatment Breakdown

While the symptoms of these two disorders are similar, the treatments are fairly different. In short, psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder that is harder to control, and generally requires immunosuppressants in the form of topical steroid creams or in oral medications. In either case, these medications usually have to be prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist.

Seborrheic dermatitis sufferers often find relief with over the counter medications and treatments, like sulfur products and antifungal products.

See a Dermatologist

Chances are you now have a better idea of which of these skin disorders you have, but in either case, seeing a dermatologist, such as those at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists of Moreno Valley, is a good idea. They’ll be able to come up with a precise treatment regimen for either skin disorder, and they can help to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body.

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