Currently, there is no cure for
psoriasis. However, there are many treatment options that can clear
psoriasis for a period of time. Each treatment has advantages and
disadvantages, and what works for one patient may not be effective
for another. Board-certified dermatologists have the medical
training and experience needed to determine the most appropriate
treatments for each patient.
There are several forms of psoriasis, and each form has unique
characteristics that allow dermatologists to visually identify
psoriasis to determine what type, or types, of psoriasis is present.
Sometimes a skin biopsy will
be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
To choose the most appropriate
treatment method, dermatologists consider several factors:
Type of psoriasis
Severity (the amount of skin
Where psoriasis is located
Patient’s age and medical history
Effects psoriasis has on patient’s
overall physical and emotional
Types of Treatment
Psoriasis treatments fall into 3 categories:
Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild
to moderate psoriasis
Phototherapy (light, usually
ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis
Systemic (taken orally or by
injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis
While each of these therapies is
effective, there are also drawbacks.
Some topicals are messy
and may stain clothing and skin. Phototherapy can require 2 to 5
weekly visits to a dermatologist’s office or psoriasis clinic for
several weeks. Many of the systemic medications have serious side
effects and must be combined or rotated with other therapies to
maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects. Research is being
conducted to find therapies that provide safe, effective,
easy-to-use treatment options that provide long-term relief.
All content solely
developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
For an overview, visit
the AAD pamphlet
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis.