West Houston Dermatology

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Guttate Psoriasis

Guttate Psoriasis

There are several different forms of psoriasis, and guttate psoriasis is the second most common form behind plaque psoriasis.  According the National Psoriasis Foundation, of the people who develop psoriasis, about 10% of the cases are guttate.  Guttate psoriasis looks quite different than plaques.  It presents as small, separate, drop-shaped red spots on the skin, and depending on the severity, there can be hundreds of these spots in the affected area.  The lesions are usually not as thick as the plaque form of psoriasis.  Most of the time, guttate psoriasis presents on the body’s trunk and limbs.  This form of psoriasis usually begins during childhood or early adulthood.  Though guttate and plaque psoriasis are two separate forms of the disease, unfortunately that does not mean that a patient cannot suffer from both forms.  Guttate psoriasis can come on suddenly in patients, and medical researchers have found that there are certain events that trigger its onset, such as an upper respiratory infection, strep throat, tonsillitis, stress, skin injuries, and certain medications like beta-blockers and anti-malarial drugs.  Most patients are treated with topical ointments, and only in very severe cases are system medications prescribed.  Because there can be hundreds of spots, using topical ointments can be inconvenient.  Another treatment method involves ultraviolet light (a/k/a phototherapy).  With this approach physicians expose the affected areas of skin with UVB light waves within a very narrow spectrum of 311-313 nanometers.  (UVB therapy in the doctor’s office is definitely not the same as using a tanning booth or bed).  West Houston Dermatology and Dr. Stephen Mahoney offer UVB treatment for guttate psoriasis, and they are one of the few dermatology clinics in Houston that can treat the full body in a matter of minutes using a special phototherapy machine.  Besides phototherapy, Dr. Stephen Mahoney is an expert in treating patients with psoriasis.