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Psoriasis Treatment St. Louis

Red, scaly psoriasis plaques on the arm.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition affecting millions worldwide, including many residents in St. Louis, MO. Characterized by red, itchy, and scaly patches, psoriasis impacts around 2-3% of the global population. While there is no cure, our dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology, located at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, understand the frustration of living with psoriasis and specialize in effective psoriasis treatment and management. They offer  personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific condition, providing relief and helping you manage psoriasis symptoms effectively.

Types of Psoriasis Treated in St. Louis

Understanding the various forms of psoriasis is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. At Mid-County Dermatology, our dermatologists in St. Louis are experienced in managing all types of psoriasis, including:

Plaque Psoriasis

The most common form, plaque psoriasis accounts for about 80% of cases. It presents as raised, red patches covered with silvery-white scales, often appearing on the:

  • Elbows

  • Knees

  • Scalp

  • Lower back

  • Palms and soles

These patches can be itchy or painful and may merge into larger plaques in severe cases.

Guttate Psoriasis

Characterized by small, drop-like red spots on the trunk and limbs, guttate psoriasis frequently develops suddenly after a bacterial or viral infection like strep throat. While it may resolve on its own within weeks or months, it can recur or progress to another psoriasis form.

Inverse Psoriasis

This type primarily affects skin folds like the armpits, groin, under the breasts, or around the genitals. Instead of scaly patches, inverse psoriasis appears as smooth, shiny, inflamed red patches that can be particularly uncomfortable due to friction and sweating.

Other Forms

Our dermatologists also treat less common types, including:

  • Pustular Psoriasis: Characterized by pus-filled blisters on red skin, localized or widespread.

  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis: A rare, severe form causing widespread reddening and shedding of the skin.

  • Nail Psoriasis: Affecting the fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, yellowing, and abnormal nail growth.

No matter which type of psoriasis you're dealing with, our team offers personalized treatment plans to manage symptoms and provide relief. Schedule an appointment for an evaluation by our psoriasis specialists in St. Louis.

Causes and Triggers of Psoriasis Flare-ups

While the exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, several factors have been identified as potential triggers for outbreaks. At Mid-County Dermatology, our dermatologists in St. Louis are well-versed in understanding these triggers to help patients manage psoriasis effectively.

Genetic Predisposition

Having a family history of psoriasis increases an individual's risk of developing the condition due to certain genes associated with immune system regulation and inflammation.

Immune System Dysfunction

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, causing them to multiply rapidly and form red, scaly patches.

Environmental Triggers

While genetics play a role, certain environmental factors can also trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms in susceptible individuals, including:

  • Stress

    • High-stress levels can disrupt immune system function and exacerbate existing psoriasis symptoms.

  • Infections

    • Bacterial or viral infections like strep throat or respiratory illnesses have been linked to triggering psoriasis outbreaks.

  • Medications

    • Certain medications, such as beta-blockers or lithium, may induce or aggravate psoriatic symptoms.

  • Injury or Trauma

    • Skin injuries like cuts, burns, or tattoos can sometimes lead to new psoriasis lesions forming in the affected area (known as the Koebner response).

It's important to note that triggers can vary greatly among individuals living with psoriasis. Understanding personal triggers through self-monitoring and tracking symptoms is crucial for effective management.

Our dermatologists work closely with patients to identify their unique triggers and develop personalized treatment plans to minimize flare-ups and improve overall skin health.

Potential Complications of Psoriasis

While psoriasis primarily manifests as a skin condition, it can have far-reaching effects on overall health if left unmanaged. At Mid-County Dermatology, our dermatologists in St. Louis are well aware of the potential complications and work closely with patients to minimize these risks.

Individuals with psoriasis have an elevated risk of developing certain comorbidities, including:

Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have found a link between psoriasis and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, with chronic inflammation believed to play a role in both conditions.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Psoriasis has been associated with a higher likelihood of developing heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity – all contributing factors for cardiovascular problems.

Regular check-ups and lifestyle modifications are crucial for monitoring and managing these risks.

Emotional and Mental Health Impact

Living with a chronic and visible condition like psoriasis can take a toll on one's mental well-being, often leading to:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Low self-esteem

  • Social stigma

Our dermatologists understand the emotional distress caused by psoriasis and can provide guidance on seeking support, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or support groups.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Some patients with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. This can affect any joint, including fingers, toes, knees, and the spine, leading to reduced mobility and impaired quality of life.

Managing psoriatic arthritis requires a multidisciplinary approach involving dermatologists and rheumatologists.

By working closely with our team of experts, patients in St. Louis can receive comprehensive care to manage psoriasis and minimize the risk of these potential complications, improving overall health and well-being.

Diagnosing Psoriasis in St. Louis

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is crucial for effectively treating psoriasis. At Mid-County Dermatology, our dermatologists utilize various methods to diagnose this chronic skin condition, including:

Visual Examination

The initial step in diagnosing psoriasis involves a thorough visual examination by our experienced dermatologists. They will carefully inspect the affected areas, looking for key characteristics such as:

  • Redness

  • Scaling

  • Raised plaques

During the examination, it's essential to provide detailed information about your symptoms, including when they first appeared and any potential triggers. This information helps our team make an accurate diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan.

Skin Biopsy

In some cases, a skin biopsy may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis of psoriasis. This procedure involves taking a small sample of affected skin tissue for laboratory analysis, helping to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

No Specific Blood Test

Unlike some other medical conditions, there is no specific blood test available for diagnosing psoriasis. However, our dermatologists may order blood tests to assess overall health, check inflammation levels, and evaluate the risk of potential comorbidities associated with psoriasis, such as:

  • Liver function

  • Cholesterol levels

  • C-reactive protein (CRP) levels

By combining visual examinations, medical history, and any necessary tests, our team of experts can accurately diagnose psoriasis and develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

If you're experiencing symptoms that may indicate psoriasis, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our dermatologists for a thorough evaluation.

Fingernail Changes in Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that primarily affects the skin, causing red, scaly patches. However, it's important to note that psoriasis can also have an impact on the nails in 25-30% of patients. In fact, nail changes often accompany the skin symptoms and can provide valuable clues about psoriatic involvement. Let's take a closer look at some of the common nail changes associated with psoriasis.

  • Pitting (small dents) or ridges

One of the telltale signs of nail psoriasis is the presence of small dents or pits on the surface of the nails. These pitting marks are typically shallow and resemble tiny depressions. Ridges may appear on the nails, running either vertically or horizontally. These abnormalities occur due to an overactive immune response in individuals with psoriasis.

  • Discoloration

Another significant indicator of nail psoriasis is discoloration. Affected nails may exhibit unusual hues such as yellowish-brown or white spots. In some cases, there might be a complete discoloration of the entire nail plate.

  • Onycholysis

As psoriasis progresses, separation between the nail and its underlying bed can happen. This condition is known as onycholysis and can cause considerable discomfort.

Comprehensive Psoriasis Treatment Options in St. Louis

At Mid-County Dermatology, our dermatologists in St. Louis understand that psoriasis is a chronic condition that requires personalized and multi-faceted treatment approaches. We offer a range of effective options to help manage symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for our patients.

Topical Treatments

One of the first lines of defense against psoriasis is the use of topical creams, ointments, and solutions. These products are applied directly to the affected areas and work by reducing inflammation, relieving itching, and promoting healing.

  • Corticosteroid Creams: Help reduce inflammation and itching, providing quick relief.

  • Vitamin D Analogs: Regulate skin cell growth and alleviate symptoms.

  • Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, these slow down cell turnover and reduce scaling.

  • Salicylic Acid Ointments: Promote shedding of dead skin cells and aid in symptom relief.


Phototherapy involves exposing the affected skin to controlled amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light, helping to slow down rapid cell turnover – a key factor in psoriasis flare-ups.

  • Narrowband UVB Therapy: Uses a specific UVB wavelength effective in treating psoriasis without increasing skin cancer risk.

  • PUVA Therapy: Combines UVA light with the medication psoralen, making the skin more light-sensitive. Effective for severe cases.

Our dermatologists closely monitor and adjust phototherapy treatments to ensure optimal results and minimize potential side effects.

Systemic Medications

For moderate to severe psoriasis, systemic medications may be necessary. These work by targeting the immune system response and reducing inflammation and skin cell growth.

  • Methotrexate: An oral medication that slows cell turnover, reducing inflammation and scaling.

  • Cyclosporine: An immunosuppressive drug that targets specific immune cells involved in psoriasis flare-ups.

  • Biologic Drugs: Target specific components of the immune system responsible for triggering inflammation and plaque formation. Examples include adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, ustekinumab, secukinumab, ixekizumab, and brodalumab.

Systemic medications require close monitoring by our dermatologists, including regular blood tests, to ensure safety and manage potential side effects.

Our team works closely with each patient to develop a personalized treatment plan, combining various therapies as needed to effectively manage psoriasis symptoms and improve overall skin health. Regular follow-ups and adjustments to the treatment approach are made as necessary to achieve optimal results.

Diet Recommendations for People with Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the skin, causing redness, itching, and flaking. While there is no cure for psoriasis, certain dietary changes can help manage its symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Anti-inflammatory Diet

An anti-inflammatory approach is often recommended. This involves consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory properties while avoiding those that may trigger inflammation in the body.

A rich diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and fish can be beneficial for individuals with psoriasis. These foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote overall health and help reduce inflammation.

Including a variety of colorful fruits such as berries, oranges, and melons in your daily meals can provide you with a good dose of antioxidants. Similarly, incorporating leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale can offer anti-inflammatory benefits due to their high content of vitamins A and C.

Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent choices for individuals with psoriasis. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation in the body and may help alleviate psoriasis symptoms. If you're not a fan of fish or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can opt for plant-based sources of omega-3s such as flaxseeds or chia seeds.

Avoid Dietary Triggers

In addition to incorporating beneficial foods into your diet plan for psoriasis management, it's crucial to avoid trigger foods that could potentially worsen your symptoms.

Alcohol consumption has been linked to increased inflammation in the body and can exacerbate psoriasis flare-ups. It's advisable to limit or completely avoid alcohol if you have psoriasis.

Processed foods, especially those high in sugar and unhealthy fats, can contribute to inflammation and may trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms. These include fast food, sugary snacks, and processed meats. Opting for whole foods instead of processed options can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.

Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis: Symptoms and Treatment

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects individuals with psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches. This condition not only impacts the skin but also causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. It is crucial to recognize the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis early on to seek appropriate treatment and manage the disease effectively.

Common Symptoms

Joint pain is one of the most prevalent symptoms experienced by individuals with psoriatic arthritis. The pain can range from mild discomfort to severe agony, hindering daily activities. Alongside pain, stiffness in the affected joints is also common, especially after periods of rest or inactivity. This stiffness tends to improve with movement throughout the day.

Swelling in the joints is another symptom that individuals with psoriatic arthritis often encounter. The affected joints may appear larger than usual due to inflammation. Moreover, some people may notice redness and warmth around these swollen areas.

Relieving Pain

If you experience joint pain associated with psoriatic arthritis in St. Louis, MO, there are several treatment options available that can help alleviate your discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the joints. These medications provide temporary relief and can be obtained over-the-counter or through prescription.

Applying topical creams or ointments directly onto the affected joints can offer localized relief from pain and inflammation. These topical treatments often contain corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory ingredients that soothe discomfort.

Slowing Progression

To slow down the progression of psoriatic arthritis and prevent further damage to your joints, your doctor in St. Louis may recommend disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) as a psoriasis treatment. These medications work by suppressing your immune system's response to reduce inflammation in both your skin and joints.

In some cases where DMARDs are not effective, biologic response modifiers may be prescribed. These drugs target specific molecules in the immune system to control inflammation and slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis.

Key Takeaways on Psoriasis for St. Louis Residents

In conclusion, psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects many individuals in the St. Louis area. While the exact cause is unknown, it's believed to be related to an overactive immune system response. It's essential to understand the following key points:

  1. Types and Symptoms: Psoriasis can manifest in different forms, such as plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, and inverse psoriasis, each with its own set of symptoms and characteristics.

  2. Potential Complications: Unmanaged psoriasis can lead to complications like psoriatic arthritis, an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and emotional/mental health impacts.

  3. Diagnosis and Treatment Options: If you suspect you have psoriasis, it's crucial to seek medical attention from our dermatologists in St. Louis for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment options. At Mid-County Dermatology, we offer a range of effective therapies, including topical treatments, phototherapy, systemic medications, and biologic drugs.

  4. Comprehensive Care: Managing psoriasis requires a holistic approach. In addition to medical treatments, our team may recommend lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, stress management techniques, and regular monitoring for potential complications like nail involvement.

By staying informed, actively managing your condition, and following recommended treatments from our dermatology specialists, you can improve your quality of life and minimize the impact of psoriasis on your overall well-being.

Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our experienced dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology. We're dedicated to providing comprehensive care and helping you find relief from this chronic skin condition.


What triggers a psoriasis outbreak?

Psoriasis outbreaks can be triggered by various factors such as stress, infections (like strep throat), cold weather, certain medications (such as beta-blockers or lithium), smoking, alcohol consumption, and injuries to the skin.

Can diet affect my psoriasis?

While there is no definitive evidence linking specific foods to psoriasis flare-ups, some individuals report improvements in their symptoms by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It's worth experimenting with dietary changes under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?

Currently, there is no known cure for psoriasis; however, many treatment options are available that can effectively manage the symptoms and provide relief. These treatments aim to reduce inflammation, slow down skin cell growth, and alleviate discomfort.

Can psoriasis be passed on to others?

Psoriasis is not contagious, so you cannot pass it on to others through physical contact. It is a genetic autoimmune condition that can be inherited but does not spread from person to person.


How can I best take care of my skin if I have psoriasis?

To care for your skin when you have psoriasis, it's essential to keep it moisturized with gentle, fragrance-free products. Avoid harsh soaps or hot water that can further dry out the skin. Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen regularly as some medications used for treating psoriasis can increase sensitivity to sunlight.

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