April 17, 2014
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Psoriasis

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Psoriasis: working with your doctor

To take control of your psoriasis treatment, you need to form a strong partnership with your doctor. After all you and your health care providers are part of the same team, and you're all working toward a common set of goals - namely clearing up your psoriasis plaques and improving your quality of life. And like any team, you and your doctor need to communicate honestly and openly.

Be honest about your feelings and treatment expectations
Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your psoriasis treatment. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms, how you feel your current treatment is working for you, treatments that interest you, and questions you have about any aspect of your treatment plan. If you're not upfront about what you're feeling and what you want out of treatment, your doctor will have a harder time finding a psoriasis treatment that's satisfying for you.

Ask your family doctor if you should see a dermatologist
Your family doctor can do many things - and treating psoriasis is one of them. However, there may be a time when you may want to consider seeing a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a medical specialist with extensive training in diagnosing and treating skin, nail, and hair conditions. If you do ask for a referral, let your family doctor know that you appreciate their expertise and that they will continue to play an important role in your health care, but you want to manage your psoriasis with a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis.

When to ask your doctor for a referral to see a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis:

  • You have tried a psoriasis treatment but it's not working to your satisfaction or expectations.
  • You have moderate or severe psoriasis.
  • Your psoriasis has a great impact on your quality of life.
  • You have psoriasis on your face, scalp, hands, feet, or skin folds.
  • You have certain types of psoriasis that are not as common or are more difficult to treat (e.g., generalized erythrodermic psoriasis, generalized pustular psoriasis).

Dermatologists who specialize in psoriasis have extensive knowledge about all psoriasis treatments, including topical medications, systemic treatments, and light therapy. You can use the Dermatologist Finder to find one near you.

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