Learn the Basics of the Best Psoriasis Treatments
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects the life cycle of skin cells, causing skin to rapidly build up on the surface of the skin. There is no cure for psoriasis, though treatment can greatly reduce the symptoms and offer significant relief to psoriasis sufferers. The primary goal of the newest psoriasis medications are to slow the growth of skin cells. The top three treatments for psoriasis are topical treatments and medications, phototherapy (light therapy) and oral or injected medications. The type of treatment that will work best for you will depend on the type and severity of your psoriasis. Your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments to most effectively manage your symptoms.
Want to learn more about which treatment is best for you? Talk to your doctor or find a psoriasis dermatologist who specializes in helping people with your condition.
Topical Treatments for Psoriasis
Topical psoriasis treatments include topical corticosteroids or retinoids, vitamin D analogues (synthetic vitamin D) anthralin, salicylic acid and moisturizers. Topical treatments are useful for slowing cell turnover, make skin smoother, decrease inflammation and reduce scaling. Topical treatments can often be used alone or in conjunction with other topical medications to effectively treat mild to moderate psoriasis. For more severe cases of psoriasis, topical treatments may be combined with oral or injected medication and light therapy for optimal results.
Oral and Injected Psoriasis Medications
Psoriasis that is severe or resistant to other treatments can often be effectively treated through the use of oral or injected medications. Retinoids, methotrexate, cyclosporine and biologic drugs (drugs that alter the immune system) are all common oral or injected medications used to treat psoriasis. Due to more severe side effects, however, these medications are generally used for short periods of time or alternated with other types of treatment. Natural or artificial light has also been proven effective in treating psoriasis, both alone and in conjunction with other treatments. Light therapy treatment includes exposure to natural sunlight, UVB phototherapy, Goeckerman therapy, Narrow-band UVB phototherapy, photochemotherapy or excimer laser therapy.
Natural or artificial light has also been proven effective in treating psoriasis, both alone and in conjunction with other treatments. Light therapy treatment includes exposure to natural sunlight, UVB phototherapy, Goeckerman therapy, Narrow-band UVB phototherapy, photochemotherapy or excimer laser therapy. While not as effective for relieving acute flare-ups, phototherapy is effective in keeping the skin healthy and preventing further flares of psoriasis skin plaques. Phototherapy is also less damaging for people who have sensitive skin.
Even with adequate treatment, psoriasis symptoms may still occur. Symptoms to watch out for include small, scaly spots or patches of skin, dry, cracked skin that may bleed, thickened, pitted or ridged nails, soreness, itching or burning, and stiff or swollen joints, which may indicate psoriatic arthritis. In some cases, psoriasis can become severe and even life threatening. If you experience symptoms of pustular psoriasis, such as widespread patches of puss-filled blisters (or smaller patches on hands, feet or fingertips) that may come and go frequently, red and tender skin, fever, chills, severe itching or diarrhea, contact your doctor or seek medical attention right away.
Psoriasis can be unpredictable and tends to go through stages of improvement and then worsening symptoms, and skin can also become resistant to certain treatments. Because of this, psoriasis treatment planning is often an ongoing process that may change frequently.