How to Treat Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic disease that causes excess skin cells to build up quickly on the skin. These cells form scaly skin patches that can cause pain and itching. How to treat psoriasis? Physicians have many options to offer patients.

Treatments for psoriasis try to stop the formation of excess skin cells and remove the rough patches that exist. Psoriasis treatment may consist of a combination of therapies, including oral medications, light therapy, and topical medications. Topical medications are the mildest form of therapy.

Topical Medications

  1. Topical corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are often prescribed for milder psoriasis. This medication slows down cell production and shrinks inflammation. Topical corticosteroids are usually applied to inflamed scales until they disappear.
  2. Topical retinoids such as tazarotene were created for psoriasis treatment. These creams return the DNA in the skin cells to normal and the swelling decreases. The skin can become irritated from the medication and sunscreen should be used.
  3. Anthralin also works by returning cell DNA to a normal state. Anthralin makes skin smoother by dissolving rough patches. It stains quite easily; physicians prescribe it for short time periods.
  4. Vitamin D analogues slow the reproduction of the cells of the skin. These creams are used in mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. Vitamin D analogues are sometimes prescribed in conjunction with other forms of treatment.


  1. Sunlight can be used to treat psoriasis in small amounts. Ultraviolet rays can slow the development of new skin cells. A doctor should advise the patient on the amount of sunlight; overexposure can worsen psoriasis.
  2. UVB phototherapy uses an artificial light source for UVB light. This therapy can be used in small areas or all over the body. Dry skin can result and skin may be temporarily irritated.
  3. How to Treat Psoriasis

    How to Treat Psoriasis

    Narrowband UVB therapy is a more recent development in phototherapy. Patients receive doses two or three times a week. This therapy may cause more damage to the skin than UVB phototherapy.

  4. Photochemotherapy refers to the ingestion of a drug that causes sensitivity to light prior to UVA light therapy. UVA light is absorbed deeper into the skin than UVB light. This therapy is utilized in only severe cases of psoriasis.

Oral Medication

  1. Hydroxyurea is a milder oral medication that is sometimes combined with light therapy. It can cause anemia. Pregnant women should not use hydroxyurea.
  2. Methotrexate lowers skin cell production. Some side effects include tiredness, and stomach problems. Long-term use can lead to life-threatening side effects, such as liver damage and lowered blood cell production.
  3. Cyclosporine has a success rate that is close to methotrexate. It is an immunosuppressant medication and may cause serious health issues. Long-term use should be avoided.
  4. Retinoids also slow the growth rate of skin cells. They control symptoms, but the symptoms usually recur when the patient stops the medication. Retinoids can lead to birth defects; female patients should not have a baby for three years after taking retinoids.

Doctors can prescribe a variety of treatments for psoriasis depending on the level of the symptoms. The disease can usually be controlled with a combination of therapies; however, various side effects can occur. As one treatment becomes ineffective or the side effects too severe, another treatment can be pursued.

Psoriasis patients can also take daily baths with oily soaps and use moisturizers to improve their skin. Sufferers tend to feel embarrassed by their skin, so any action that soothes the skin may be welcome. Patients with psoriasis should know that a great deal of trial and error may be involved to find the best individualized treatment.

For more information about how to treat psoriasis, read:

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