My name is Sareena, and I am both a Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology team member (for over nine years) and a psoriasis patient. In recognition of August being Psoriasis Awareness Month, I want to share my experience with you on the diagnosis and personal management of my psoriasis skin condition.
My first flare-up was in my late 20s. A part of my leg had a red, scaly, and itchy patch that caused me to worry. Thinking I could alleviate the condition myself, I turned to over-the-counter (OTC) products and hydrocortisone that. They gave me temporary comfort but over time, however, I realized this was not the best solution for long-term relief.
Call to Action
Unfortunately, I began to find more of the same red spots and scaling all over my scalp. Again, thinking I could solve this problem myself, I tried and failed to find relief from a multitude of over-the-counter shampoos. As time progressed, I began to experience the same flaking and scaly spots on my legs as well as my elbows. That is when I finally realized it was time to see a Dermatologist.
I had a skin biopsy during my visit to the Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology that confirmed my diagnosis of Psoriasis. It was nice to gain further understanding of my own skin condition including treatment options since there is no cure for psoriasis. My treatment plan began with steroid ointment for my legs and steroid solution for my scalp. Unfortunately, I was still bothered by the irritation and noticeable spots of psoriasis all over my body after steroid use. I went back for a follow-up appointment to my dermatologist to discuss next steps and alternate treatment plans.
In Office Treatments
It was at that time that I began a UV laser treatment called XTRAC where I was seen three times a week over a period of five months. This treatment significantly helped my psoriasis. I also used a different form of UVB light therapy that was performed in a stand-up booth. These treatments lasted about 30-40 seconds and greatly improved the psoriasis on my legs. As the condition was well controlled over time, I discontinued UVB light therapy but continued to use topical treatments prescribed to me by my dermatologist.
The whole process of learning about my diagnosis to trialing multiple treatment plans for my psoriasis has provided me with a significant appreciation for the multitude of options available and the ability to have a dermatologist to walk me through getting to the right care plan. The biggest realization I had was understanding how every individual is different; therefore, every individual will have a unique treatment plan that works for them. The journey of going through trial and error has led to a further personal understanding of what treatment works best for me. I wish I would have seen my dermatologist sooner to help get a treatment plan when I experienced my first flare-up.
- Sareena H., Christie Clinic Department of Dermatology