Psoriasis: Treatment

You and your doctor will likely work together to make psoriasis treatment decisions. Your treatment will be based on a number of factors, such as:

  • The type of psoriasis you have
  • How severe your psoriasis is
  • Where your psoriasis is located (is it very noticeable to you and others?)
  • What kinds of treatments have failed or worked for you in the past

Topical treatments
Mild to moderate cases of psoriasis can respond to topical (applied to the skin) treatments such as medicated lotions, ointments, creams, gels or shampoos. They may be corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory agents), vitamin D-based treatments, or retinoids (a synthetic vitamin A).

Phototherapy
For moderate to severe psoriasis, phototherapy uses ultraviolet light to slow skin cell production.

Body-wide treatments
Systemic and biologic medications work to slow skin cell production. These medications can be taken orally, by injection or by IV infusion. They can inhibit or suppress the immune system signals that are telling your body to create more skin cells.

If your doctor would find it helpful, you might want to consider keeping a journal of your symptoms from week to week. This can help you and your doctor evaluate whether a therapy is working well. Continue with each treatment until your doctor tells you to stop. Be sure to tell your doctor about how psoriasis is affecting your life, and what you expect from any new treatments you may try.