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Psoriasis Specialist

Leon E. Brown, MD

Dermatologist located in Takoma Park, MD

When the life cycle of skin cells changes, these cells may build up quickly and become a condition known as psoriasis. Dr. Leon Brown, private practice dermatologist in Takoma Park, Maryland, can help you understand the cycle of psoriasis and develop a skin care plan to assist you in the management of this common but incurable condition.

Psoriasis Q & A

What are the causes and symptoms of psoriasis?

Though thought to be an immune system problem, the precise cause of psoriasis is unknown. A certain type of white blood cell starts attacking healthy skin cells at the site of a psoriasis outbreak, called a plaque. This attack starts a cycle of accelerated new skin growth before the old skin has a chance to break down naturally. Symptoms vary among patients, but generally include one or more of the following conditions:

  • Red skin patches covered by white or silver scales
  • Small scaly patches without associated redness
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Itchiness, soreness or burning sensations
  • Changes to finger and/or toenails, including thickness or ridges
  • Stiff and swollen joints

The size of a psoriasis outbreak may vary greatly. In fact, there are several types of psoriasis besides the most common plaque psoriasis.

What are the other types of psoriasis?

As with plaque psoriasis, each type typically goes through a cycle, flaring up and then subsiding. Other types of psoriasis include:

  • Nail psoriasis: Causes pits, abnormal growth, discoloration and crumbling
  • Scalp psoriasis: Silver/white “dandruff” originating from a red, itchy spot that may extend beyond the hairline
  • Inverse psoriasis: Usually affecting armpits and groin with smooth patches of red skin, aggravated by sweating and friction
  • Psoriatic arthritis: Arthritis-like pain accompanies other psoriasis symptoms

How is psoriasis treated?

There are many potential treatments for psoriasis, though these treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease. Treatments break down into three general types.

Topical treatments

  • Corticosteroids: Used for active outbreaks
  • Vitamin D (sunlight): Also synthetic vitamin D analogs
  • Retinoid creams: Normalizes DNA activity in skin cells
  • Coal tar: Reduces itching and scaling

Light therapy

  • Controlled exposure to sunlight
  • Ultraviolet light exposure: Both narrow and broadband UVB sources may be used
  • Excimer laser: Uses controlled beams of intense UVB light

Other medications

  • Retinoids: Reduce the production of skin cells
  • Immunomodulators: Used carefully, since these could empower other infections

Accepted Insurances

Dr. Brown accepts most insurances. Please contact the office for further insurance information.


Adventist Health
Anthem Blue Cross
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
Blue Shield of California
Capital Blue Cross