Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease characterized by scaly patches. Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that appears as small pinkish drops on the skin. The drops may also have a scaly texture, but the scales are typically not as severe as other forms of psoriasis. There are several different types of guttate psoriasis treatment, including antibiotics, phototherapy, and home treatment options. A dermatologist can help determine the best treatment options depending on the severity of the condition.
Guttate psoriasis treatment for mild cases can often be performed at home with several different types of topical solutions. Dandruff shampoos and topical creams containing coal tar can help alleviate the flare-ups. Topical steroids can be used to help with the itchiness, however most over-the-counter steroid creams contain too low a concentration to be completely effective, so a stronger prescription strength cream may be recommended. Topical solutions containing vitamin D and retinoids, derived from Vitamin A, may also be used as guttate psoriasis treatment in mild to moderate cases.
In some cases, guttate psoriasis can be triggered by a streptococcal infection, and antibiotics may be prescribed. Physicians may also order antibiotic treatment in patients with a history of psoriasis if they present with a sore throat. A throat culture is usually performed to diagnose the streptococcal infection prior to prescribing the medication. Starting the antibiotic immediately helps prevent the infection from triggering a psoriasis flare-up.
Ultraviolet light from the sun or artificial sources is often beneficial to treating the symptoms of psoriasis. This form of treatment, called phototherapy, is usually prescribed as a short course due to the risks of ultraviolet ray exposure. In resistant cases of guttate psoriasis, physicians may combine a medication that increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun with the phototherapy treatment. The medication may cause nausea and vomiting, and patients are instructed to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the light for up to 24 hours after the therapy.
When a patient with guttate psoriasis also suffers from recurring strep throat infections, physicians may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils. This is typically done when the patient has recurring strep throat infections during a single year despite antibiotic therapy. While guttate psoriasis treatment is secondary to treating the recurring infections, it does help reduce flare-ups.
Although guttate psoriasis is not completely preventable, lifestyle changes and other preventative measures may help reduce the frequency of flare-ups. Patients should avoid scratching the affected areas as much as possible and keep the skin moisturized, especially after bathing or showering. While scalding hot water may seem to alleviate the discomfort, it can actually worsen flare-ups, so cool to warm water is better. A dermatologist can help patients determine which guttate psoriasis treatment is best for them based on the severity of the flare-up.