Approximately 1 million Canadians are affected by psoriasis. The most common form can be characterized by fast growing skin cells that accumulate with the dead skin cells on the body which have a hard time shedding, resulting in lesions and scaly looking skin. The outbreaks, severity, and the chronic nature of psoriasis can make it debilitating and embarrassing for those who have the condition.
It is important to note that psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be contracted through physical contact with someone who has it. Individuals with psoriasis are also prone to developing psoriatic arthritis, so it is crucial for psoriasis patients to notify their dermatologist if any signs (swelling and pain in the joints) of the disease start to show to minimize joint degeneration.
Unfortunately there is no cure for psoriasis and patients can go in and out of remission for up to years at a time. UVB phototherapy has been effective in treating the condition. The treatment works by emitting a powerful UVB light to the affected area, which penetrates deep within the skin to slow down the growth of the affected skin cells. The key to success of this treatment is continuity; patients are to be placed under the UVB light 2-3 times a week for up to 12 weeks for a few minutes at a time depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, and also the strength of the light. The more patients undergoing UVB therapy, the weaker the lamps will be, increasing treatment time. The machine is than re-calibrated accordingly. Prolonged use of UVB therapy can place patients at an increase risk of developing skin cancer so it is essential to be treated by a dermatologist for close monitoring, and to wear a daily sunscreen while under treatment, especially on untreated areas. ICLS offers UVB therapy and this can be discussed with Dr. Sapra.
We can recommend specially formulated cleansers and moisturizers that may also help to improve psoriasis. In addition, our Centre for Clinical Trials frequently hosts research studies on psoriasis and other skin concerns such as atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, alopecia and more.