There are typically three options to treat psoriasis. First, topical treatments may be applied directly to the skin. Healthcare providers might also recommend light treatments (phototherapy), or medications taken by mouth or injection to treat the entire immune system. Since each option has different outcomes for different people, healthcare providers often use a trial-and-error approach to find a treatment for psoriasis that works.
An Overview of Treating Psoriasis
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatments available that can decrease the bothersome symptoms and appearance of the disease.
Once a diagnosis of psoriasis is made, healthcare providers will recommend treatment based on:
- The severity of the disease
- Size of the areas involved
- Type of psoriasis
- A person's response to initial treatments
- The cost and convenience of treatment.
Recommendations for treating psoriasis can include:
- Medicines applied to the skin (topical psoriasis treatment)
- Light treatments (phototherapy)
- Psoriasis medication, whether by mouth or injection, that treat the whole immune system (called systemic therapy).
A combination of therapies is often recommended.
Over time, affected skin can become resistant to specific treatments, especially when topical corticosteroids are used. Also, a treatment that works well in one person may have little effect in another. Thus, healthcare providers often use a trial-and-error approach to find a treatment that works, and they may switch treatments periodically (for example, every 12 to 24 months) if a psoriasis treatment does not work or if adverse reactions occur.
Topical Treatment for Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatment applied directly to the skin may improve its condition. Healthcare providers find that some people respond well to ointment or cream forms of:
- Calcineurin inhibitors
- Coal tar
- Salicylic acid
- Clobetasol propionate
- Bath solutions and moisturizers.