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Psoriasis Specialist

Alaska Dermatology, Laser & Skin Cancer Center

Michael Cusack, MD

Clinical Dermatology located in Anchorage, AK

If you’re living with psoriasis, you know how painful, itchy scales can affect your health and happiness. At Alaska Dermatology, Laser & Skin Cancer Center in Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Michael Cusack offers effective diagnostic and treatment services to help you find relief from the pain psoriasis may be causing in your skin and joints. The available psoriasis treatment options will give your self-esteem a much-needed boost, and you won’t have to hide your skin anymore. To learn more about treating psoriasis, schedule an appointment online or by phone.

Psoriasis Q & A

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that involves the rapid buildup of skin cells on the surface of your skin. These cells form itchy, red scales that cause persistent discomfort or pain. These patches can also affect your self-esteem and cause embarrassment.

There are several types of psoriasis, including:

Plaque psoriasis

This type of psoriasis causes red patches of scales on any area of your body, including inside your mouth and around your genitals.

Psoriatic arthritis

This type of psoriasis causes skin scales but also results in painful, swollen joints that resemble arthritis symptoms. This condition can affect any joint with pain ranging from mild to severe.

Nail psoriasis

This affects both finger and toenails and causes abnormal nail growth, discoloration, and thickened nails.

Guttate psoriasis

This variety typically affects children and young adults and is the result of a bacterial infection. It causes tear-drop shaped lesions on your arms, legs, scalp, and torso with scales that aren’t as thick as with plaque psoriasis.


Although psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, you may experience periods during which symptoms come and go. Flare-ups can go away for several weeks or months and even go into remission for an extended period.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis isn’t known, but the condition likely relates to dysfunction in your immune system, particularly the T cells, which are white blood cells that protect your body from bacteria and viruses.

In psoriasis, T cells attack your healthy skin cells, treating them as an injury or infection. Overactive T cells can also trigger the creation of too many white blood cells that cause skin lesions and scales. As your body produces more skin cells, they travel to the outer layer of your skin rapidly, causing the buildup and thickening of your skin.

Other triggers that can make psoriasis outbreaks worse include:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Family history.
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Heavy alcohol use

Certain medications, such as high blood pressure medications, can also trigger psoriasis.

Which treatment options are available for psoriasis?

Dr. Cusack can recommend the best treatment option based on the severity of your psoriasis. Typically, he can prescribe topical corticosteroids that reduce inflammation and alleviate itching for mild to moderate psoriasis.

Severe psoriasis may require therapy using medicated skin creams and oral or injectable medications, such as retinoids and immune-suppressing drugs.

Schedule a consultation online or by phone to get relief from psoriasis pain.