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Lyon Primary Care

Primary Care Physician located in Midtown, New York, NY

Psoriasis is an itchy, red, and sometimes painful skin disorder that we’re very familiar with at Lyon Primary Care in Midtown, New York, NY. Our board-certified family physician, Valerie Lyon, M.D., can help diagnose and treat your symptoms, and, if needed, refer you to a carefully selected and experienced dermatologic specialist. Whether here in our office, or from the specialist we refer you to, you’ll receive a personalized treatment strategy designed to relieve your symptoms and to help prevent frequent recurrences of this often frustrating skin condition. Call our office today to make your appointment.

Psoriasis Q&A

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common condition that causes your skin cells to speed through their ordinary life cycle and build up on your skin's surface. This results in scaly, red patches that are usually quite itchy and often painful. Your symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and may come and go frequently or occur only periodically with long breaks between flare-ups.  

There are many types of psoriasis, but the most common by far is plaque psoriasis. This form appears as raised skin lesions (plaques) that are often itchy and covered with silvery scales. Plaque psoriasis can appear anywhere on your body, even inside your mouth.

What causes psoriasis?

Researchers believe that an immune system problem affecting your white blood cells — especially your T cells — may be responsible. T cells ordinarily travel through your body and kill bacteria and other “invaders” that your body senses are threats to your health and well-being.

Overactive T cells may kill healthy skin cells by mistake and trigger increased production of new cells over a few days, rather than the weeks it normally takes your skin cells to complete their cycle. This causes the excessive buildup of dead cells on your skin that leads to psoriasis. It’s not clear, however, exactly what causes your immune system to malfunction in the first place.

Essentially anyone can develop psoriasis, but if you have a family history of it, you have a greater chance of developing this frustrating condition.

Other common triggers linked to psoriasis include:

  • Strep throat or skin infections
  • A skin injury such as a cut, insect bite, or severe sunburn
  • Elevated levels of stress
  • Smoking or excessive alcohol use
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Certain medications, including beta blockers for high blood pressure and antimalarial drugs

What is the treatment for psoriasis?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your psoriasis treatment plan may include a combination of topical treatments, light therapy, and systemic medications.

We might prescribe:

  • Topical corticosteroids, retinoids, or other ointments designed to reduce the inflammation and itching associated with psoriasis

  • Prescription topical treatment containing synthetic vitamin D (Dovonex) to slow skin cell growth

  • Precisely controlled natural sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light exposure to slow skin cell turnover and reduce inflammation

  • Oral medications that suppress your immune system response to certain triggers