- Confusion over terminology -not always intentional- is at the core of a lot of the
problems when discussing psoriasis.
- CURE. There is currently no cure for psoriasis, where cure has it's usual meaning of
something that will permanently remove the cause of the disease so that it cannot return.
However, some people will speak of a cure when all they mean is remission of symptoms.
- CAUSE/TRIGGER. There are two underlying sources of psoriasis symptoms - the
biological cause that makes someone susceptible to the effect of the environmental
trigger(s) that set off an actual outbreak. Usually when someone says X (e.g.stress)
causes psoriasis, what they really mean is that it can act as a trigger. The actual cause has
been proven experimentally to be genetics based, although the full details of the mechanism
are still being worked out. The difference is important to remember when trying to determine the
credibility of someone pushing a given treatment that "works better than others because it
addresses the cause of psoriasis, while others just treat the symptoms". It also explains
why sometimes these treatments do honestly work for some people -because they have addressed an
individual trigger, not the actual cause as claimed.
- FDA APPROVED. A lot of psoriasis products will claim to be FDA approved. That may
actually be true, but it's meaningless in terms of an effective treatment for psoriasis unless
the product is FDA approved to treat psoriasis. Just plain FDA approved can mean anything
from FDA approved to treat some other condition or merely that none of the listed ingredients
are usually considered harmful. This is purely a marketing technique that relies on your
assuming that "FDA approved" means "FDA approved to treat psoriasis". There are only two non-
prescription ingredients that are FDA approved to treat psoriasis: topical tar and salicylic
acid. These can be found in a wide range of products for a wide range of prices.
- REBOUND. Technically a psoriasis rebound is when the treatment itself, once you stop
using it or it becomes ineffective, causes the psoriais to worsen and spread beyond where it was
prior to using the med. The term tends to be used interchangeably with flare, which is the term
for any worsening of one's condition. The distinction isn't that significant until people use
the risk of rebound as a factor in treatment decisions -either avoiding X in the mistaken
belief that it can cause a rebound or using Y in ignorance that it might leave them worse off
than before strictly because of the med itself. People may flare when coming off any given
treatment, because their condition is no longer being adequately controlled. But the only
two meds that are known to carry an actual rebound risk are corticosteroids and methotrexate.
- 'Natural' or 'alternative' does not automatically equal safe
or free of side effects. People don't want to hear it, but that generalization is pure
marketing. A given treatment may very well be safer, with lower side effects, than others. Which
is a good reason to consider trying that treatment. But not just because it is all natural.
Arsenic was a treatment used for psoriasis into the 20th century, and while it may be all natural,
it's hardly risk free.
- Not all treatments work for everyone or work the same for everyone they do work for. There
is no guarantee that something will help you even though it helped someone else. By the same
token nor is a given treatment worthless for everyone simply because you did not receive
satisfactory results with it. This is why the only honest answer to the general question "is
X an effective treatment" is "maybe".
- Likewise, not all people respond to the same triggers or to the same triggers in the same
way. Stress is probably the best known trigger of all, yet at least one newsgroup member has his
psoriasis improve under stress while others have no noticeable effect from it. This is also why
there is no such thing as a psoriasis diet or a list of foods to avoid/seek out. Some people
clearly have triggering responses to diet, but these are not universal in any way.
- Nor is there any one set disease path, where something like the fact that these people's
psoriasis spread to more of their body over time means that everyone's will do the same. Some
people have their psoriasis steadily worsen, some have it stay pretty much the same, many go
through periods of ebb and flow, and some have it disappear never to return. With all the
possible variations in between.
- Pretty much by definition, most of the people in a psoriasis support group such as the
newsgroup tend towards the worse case scenarios or else they would not feel the need/be inclined
to put the time into participation. This should be taken into consideration when looking at
answers to a question about whether psoriasis usually does X.
- Dermatologist does not equal psoriasis expert. Setting aside possible issues with
individual competency, a given derm may be a very good doctor but specialize and have
primary interest in some other area of dermatology.
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