It's a chronic skin condition that can have a major impact on your self-esteem and quality of life. But now there's a new way to battle psoriasis, with a proven cosmetic treatment.
Lisa Encinca had her first outbreak of psoriasis more than 30 years ago.
"Initially I didn’t know what it was but as it began to increase I went to see a doctor,” Encinca said.
Dermatologist Dr. Leyda Bowes said psoriasis is a skin condition that can be tough to treat.
"There's no cure for psoriasis and patients have to be applying creams and other therapies even injections of specific agents forever. Also sometimes the skin becomes lighter in color and there's no way of going back it's pretty much permanent," Bowes said.
Topical treatments helped Encinca for a while but she became concerned about the long term effect of cortisone creams and steroids. Long term use can weaken the body and lead to thinning of the skin.
That's why Bowes and other dermatologists are experimenting with an off label use of Botox. They're hoping the mechanisms of the wrinkle relaxer will reduce inflammatory cells that fuel chronic conditions like psoriasis.
"So if we can modulate these responses bring it down, psoriasis could improve," said Bowes.
A week after the injections, Encinca noticed a clear difference.
"At this point amazingly I have the least amount of psoriasis I've had in years," said Bowes.
In theory, the benefit of Botox injections for psoriasis could last up to six months. But, only small areas of skin can be treated at one time.
If Botox receives FDA approval for the treatment of psoriasis, insurance companies may eventually cover the cost.