Philly Wellness Center

Comprehensive Guide to Effective Psoriasis Treatment Options

Looking for psoriasis treatment that works? This guide provides straightforward information on the most effective treatments to ease psoriasis symptoms. With a focus on topical applications, systemic therapies, and light treatments, we lay out all the systemic treatments and options available for reducing flare-ups and discomfort. No jargon, just clear advice on managing psoriasis based on current medical understanding.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Psoriasis and Its Impact

Picture your skin cells reproducing at an abnormally rapid rate. This is the reality for those living with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches that can be itchy or painful. These patches are caused by an overproduction of skin cells that build up on the surface, leading to inflammation and persistent discomfort in areas such as skin folds.

However, psoriasis doesn’t manifest the same way in every person. It presents itself in various forms, each with unique characteristics. The most common forms of psoriasis include:

These are just a few examples of the different types of psoriasis that can occur. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

While the exact cause of psoriasis remains a mystery, it is believed to be linked to an overactive immune system. The condition is not contagious; you can’t catch it from someone else. However, genetics does play a significant role, with certain types, such as guttate psoriasis, often appearing after a streptococcal throat infection.

The impact of psoriasis extends beyond the physical symptoms. The condition can significantly affect a person’s quality of life, with the constant itchiness, pain, and visible rashes often leading to self-consciousness, social isolation, and even depression.

Strategies for Treating Psoriasis

Treatment for psoriasis isn’t as straightforward as applying a cream and expecting instant results; it typically involves a combination of strategies. From topical treatments to systemic medications and light therapy, the choice of treatment depends on several factors, including the type and severity of psoriasis, the area of skin affected, disease severity, relevant comorbidities, patient preference, and response to past treatments.

Determining an effective treatment often involves some experimentation. What works for one person may not work for another, and a treatment that was effective at one point may become less so over time. This is why it’s important to have regular check-ins with your healthcare provider to assess the effectiveness of your treatment and make adjustments as needed.

Apart from traditional medical treatments, alternative therapies such as:

Persistent Hot Flashes

can also be considered. However, before you start any new treatment, whether it’s a dietary supplement or a yoga class, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor. They can help you weigh the potential benefits against the risks and guide you towards treatments that are likely to be safe and effective.

Keep in mind, while treatments can alleviate psoriasis symptoms, they cannot completely eradicate the condition. Even with successful treatment, psoriasis typically recurs, highlighting the need for continuous management. However, with the right treatment plan and regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider, you can control your symptoms and live a full, active life.

Topical Treatments: The First Line of Defense

Topical treatments are commonly the initial strategy in treating mild psoriasis and moderate psoriasis. These treatments involve creams and ointments applied directly to the affected skin areas, helping reduce inflammation and slow down the rapid skin cell production associated with psoriasis.

Steroid Creams and Ointments

Steroid creams and ointments are frequently chosen among the available topical treatments. They are often the go-to options. These treatments are designed to manage and treat mild- to moderate psoriasis by reducing inflammation, slowing down skin cell production, and relieving itching.

But while steroid creams and ointments can be effective, they should be used with caution. Overuse can lead to skin thinning, a condition that can leave the skin vulnerable to injury. As with all medications, it’s important to use them as directed by a healthcare professional and to avoid using them for longer periods than recommended.

Topical corticosteroids come in an array of strengths, from mild to extremely potent. It is important to use the appropriate strength as directed by a healthcare professional. The right one for you will depend on factors such as:

Among the most effective steroid creams or ointments for psoriasis treatment are clobetasol, triamcinolone, and hydrocortisone. In addition, combination treatments such as calcipotriene with betamethasone dipropionate have shown effectiveness.

Vitamin D Analogue Creams

Another topical treatment option for psoriasis is Vitamin D analogue creams. Vitamin D analogue topical creams are often used in conjunction with or as a substitute for steroid creams. They are effective for treating mild to moderate psoriasis on specific areas such as the limbs, trunk, and scalp.

Vitamin D analogue creams work by slowing down the production of skin cells and having an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. This dual action can help reduce the redness, scaling, and thickness of psoriasis plaques.

Evidence has shown the effectiveness of Vitamin D analogue creams like calcipotriol and calcitriol. Studies have indicated that calcipotriol exhibits slightly greater efficacy compared to betamethasone 17-valerate, another topical treatment.

However, like all medications, Vitamin D analogue creams can have side effects. The most common include skin irritation and a burning sensation. If you experience these or any other side effects, it’s important to let your doctor know. They can adjust your treatment plan as necessary to help manage these side effects.

Additional Topical Agents

Beyond steroid and Vitamin D analogue creams, other forms of topical treatments can also be used in psoriasis treatment. These topical therapy include coal tar, dithranol, and calcineurin inhibitors.

Calcineurin inhibitors are sometimes used to treat psoriasis affecting sensitive areas when steroid creams prove to be ineffective. They work by reducing the activity of the immune system, thereby reducing inflammation.

Coal tar, a thick, heavy oil, is a less commonly used treatment that’s available over-the-counter in the form of shampoos, creams, and ointments. While coal tar can be effective at reducing scaling, inflammation, and itchiness, it can also be messy and has a strong smell. It’s also worth noting that coal tar can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it’s important to use sun protection if you’re using this treatment.

While these additional topical agents can be effective, they’re usually used as a second-line treatment after other treatments have been tried. Talking to your doctor is important in order to determine the most effective treatment plan for your specific needs. This personalized approach can ensure that you receive the best care possible for your health.

Systemic Treatments for Comprehensive Care

If topical treatments prove insufficient in managing psoriasis symptoms, systemic treatments are then considered. These treatments work throughout the body to slow down skin cell production, reduce inflammation, and suppress the immune system.

Oral Medications

Oral drugs such as methotrexate, ciclosporin, and acitretin can make a significant difference in the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis and can even treat severe psoriasis. These medications work by suppressing the immune system, slowing down skin cell production, and reducing inflammation.

While oral medications can be highly effective, they can also come with potential side effects. Some common side effects of oral medications include:

It is important to discuss potential side effects with your doctor before starting any medication.

Because of these potential side effects, oral medications require careful monitoring. Regular blood tests are usually required to check liver function and blood count, especially when taking methotrexate.

However, for many people with severe psoriasis, the benefits of oral medication outweigh the potential risks. The key is to work closely with your healthcare provider to find a treatment plan that offers the most benefit with the least amount of side effects.

Injected Medications

For severe psoriasis that hasn’t responded to other treatments, injected medications may be an option. These medications, called biologics, work to nail psoriasis by targeting specific parts of the immune system.

Biologics such as etanercept and adalimumab are designed to target specific components of the immune system. By altering the immune system, these medications can significantly improve the symptoms and signs of psoriasis within a few weeks.

However, biologics are not without their side effects. These medications can cause skin reactions at the injection site and increase the risk of serious infections due to immune system suppression. As with all medications, careful monitoring is required to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Despite the potential side effects, biologics can offer significant relief for people with severe psoriasis. They offer an option for people who have not found relief with other treatments and can significantly improve quality of life.

Light Therapy: Harnessing the Power of Light

Another possible treatment option for psoriasis is light therapy, also known as phototherapy. This treatment uses controlled exposure to natural or artificial light to reduce skin inflammation and slow skin cell production.

UVB Light Treatment

UVB light treatment is a common form of light therapy that uses ultraviolet light B (UVB) to slow down the overproduction of skin cells. This treatment can be beneficial for certain types of psoriasis that have not shown improvement with topical treatments.

UVB light treatment works by reducing skin inflammation and slowing down excessive skin cell production. It also triggers an immune response that is targeted at the skin cells, helping to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

Despite its effectiveness, UVB light treatment requires frequent hospital visits for treatment sessions, which can be a drawback for some patients. Each session typically lasts for 10-15 minutes and is usually done two to three times per week.

As with other treatments, UVB light treatment can have side effects. The most common include dry skin, burning and itching sensation, and sunburn-like skin reactions. To manage these side effects, patients are advised to moisturize their skin after each treatment.

Advanced Options in Light Therapy

For those with severe psoriasis, advanced light therapy options such as PUVA may be an option. PUVA stands for Psoralen plus Ultraviolet A and involves taking a psoralen tablet to increase the skin’s sensitivity to UVA light.

UVA light has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB light, which makes PUVA therapy particularly effective for severe cases of psoriasis. However, this type of therapy comes with its own set of risks and side effects.

PUVA therapy may cause short-term side effects such as nausea, headache, and burning or itching of the skin. These reactions are usually temporary and can be managed with appropriate care. Long-term exposure to the sun can lead to various risks for your skin, such as dryness, wrinkles, freckles, and increased sun sensitivity. Additionally, it can also elevate the risk of developing skin cancer, including the serious form known as melanoma..

However, despite these potential risks, PUVA therapy has been shown to be highly effective, with some studies showing a 100% clearance rate. With the right precautions and regular monitoring of side effects, PUVA can be a viable treatment option for those with severe psoriasis.

Specialized Treatment Plans for Different Psoriasis Types

Just like the different types of psoriasis, there are also diverse treatment plans specifically designed for each type. These specialized treatment plans may involve targeted therapies for specific areas of the body or unique combinations of treatments.

For example, guttate psoriasis, which is characterized by small, dot-like lesions, may be effectively treated with various psoriasis treatments such as:

The key to finding the right treatment plan is to work closely with your healthcare provider. They can help you understand your specific type of psoriasis, recommend appropriate treatments, and monitor your progress. With the right treatment plan, you can manage your symptoms and lead a healthy, active life.

Managing Psoriasis Beyond Medication

Managing psoriasis isn’t solely about identifying the correct medication. Lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, can also play a crucial role in controlling symptoms and improving overall well-being.

Diet and Exercise

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can significantly help in managing psoriasis symptoms. Not only can they help you maintain a healthy weight, but they can also reduce inflammation and boost your overall well-being.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly and can help reduce inflammation. Some research even suggests that certain foods, such as:

may have specific benefits for people with psoriasis.

Similarly, regular exercise can help reduce stress and inflammation, boost your mood, and improve your overall health. Low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling, as well as cardiovascular exercises like treadmills, bikes, stair steppers, and ellipticals are particularly beneficial.

However, it’s important to remember that while diet and exercise can help manage symptoms, they’re not a cure for psoriasis. They should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes medication and other treatments as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Skin Care Routine

Forming a consistent skin care routine can also aid in managing your psoriasis symptoms. This can include daily moisturizing, using specific skin products, and taking steps to prevent flare-ups.

Regular moisturizing can help reduce dryness, itching, redness, and scaling. It can also help remove scales on inflamed psoriasis patches and promote healing. Some of the most suitable moisturizers for people with psoriasis include Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Body Lotion, CeraVe Psoriasis Cream, and Codex Beauty Antü Skin Barrier Moisturizer.

In addition to moisturizing, taking soothing warm baths can help soften scales and reduce itching. And when you’re in a dry environment, using a humidifier can help keep your skin moist and reduce psoriasis symptoms.

Just remember, a skin care routine is just one part of a comprehensive psoriasis treatment plan. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new skin care routine to make sure it’s safe and effective for your specific needs.

Navigating Psoriasis Complications

While dealing with psoriasis can be challenging, being mindful of potential complications linked to the condition is equally important. One such complication is psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis.

Psoriatic arthritis is characterized by inflammation that leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints and connective tissue. It commonly affects the distal joints of the fingers and toes, but can also involve the lower back, neck, and knees.

Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis involves a variety of methods, including:

Once diagnosed, individuals are often referred to a rheumatologist and may receive treatment with anti-inflammatory or anti-rheumatic medicines.

But psoriasis complications aren’t just physical. Living with psoriasis can also have an emotional impact, leading to decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety, and even depression. It’s important to recognize these emotional effects and seek help if needed.

Support Systems and Resources

Even though living with psoriasis can sometimes feel lonely, remember, you’re not alone. There are many support systems and resources available to help you navigate your journey with psoriasis.

Healthcare professionals, including your general practitioner and dermatologists, can provide guidance and additional medical care. They can offer tailored management strategies, recommend topical therapies, and discuss advanced options such as phototherapy and biologics.

In addition to professional help, support groups and online communities can provide emotional and practical support. These platforms offer a safe space to connect with others who are facing similar challenges, share experiences, and learn from each other.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with psoriasis for years, remember that help is available. With the right support and resources, you can manage your symptoms, improve your quality of life, and continue to live a fulfilling life.


In conclusion, while psoriasis can be a challenging condition to live with, it can be effectively managed with the right treatment and lifestyle modifications. Whether it’s using topical treatments, systemic medications, or light therapy, or adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine, there are many strategies available to help manage psoriasis symptoms. And remember, you’re not alone. Reach out to healthcare professionals, join a support group, and make use of the many resources available to you. With the right support and treatment, you can manage your psoriasis and live a healthy, fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the root cause of psoriasis?

The root cause of psoriasis is an immune system disorder where white blood cells become overactive, leading to inflammation in the skin and other organs. Additionally, genetics and environmental factors are believed to play a role in its development.

How do you calm a psoriasis flare up?

To calm a psoriasis flare-up, you can keep your skin moisturized, avoid scratching, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage triggers. Additionally, exposing your skin to small amounts of sunlight and covering affected areas overnight may also help.

Does psoriasis ever go away?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that can go through periods of flare-ups and remission, but it doesn't have a permanent cure. However, treatment can help manage the symptoms for a better quality of life.

What is the most effective treatment for psoriasis?

The most effective treatments for psoriasis include Soriatane (acitretin), corticosteroids, and systemic medications such as cyclosporine and methotrexate. These treatments can effectively manage psoriasis symptoms by reducing inflammation and slowing the production of skin cells.

What are the different types of psoriasis?

Psoriasis can present in various forms, including plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis. These are the different types of psoriasis.

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