Psoriasis is a rarer form of skin disease compared to eczema and can cause a significant impact on quality of life because of constant itching and the embarrassment of red and scaly skin.

Psoriasis treatment

The first stage of psoriasis treatment is usually topical creams, ointments or shampoos. These are used to treat the symptoms of psoriasis in several different ways, including:

  • Topical corticosteroids are applied to reduce inflammation and swelling around the psoriasis sites.
  • Vitamin D either in natural or equivalent forms, such as calcipotriol or tacalcitol, are used to slow the rate of skin cell production and reduce infection.
  • Dithranol can slow skin cell production, but must be used under medical supervision.
  • Tazarotene is used to slow down skin cell production.

Phototherapy for psoriasis

Psoriasis phototherapy involves the exposure of specific frequencies of ultraviolet (UV) light to slow down the production of skin cells. Psoriasis phototherapy can be delivered using light alone or in combination with photoreactive chemicals.
Phototherapy psoriasis treatment is often used to complement topical treatments as the combination of the two can be very effective.

Treatment for severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

There are many drug treatments available to treat severe psoriasis that has not responded to topical psoriasis treatment or phototherapy.

In a small number of cases, psoriasis is associated with a type of autoimmune arthritis that has similarities with rheumatoid arthritis. Dermatologists work in a multi-disciplinary team with rheumatologists to treat those affected.

Biologic treatments, a form of targeted therapy, aims to reduce the inflammation of the immune system’s overactive cells and can be used to treat skin psoriasis that has not responded to other treatments and can slow or halt the joint damage caused by psoriatic arthritis. They are available in various types including etanercept (Enbrel®), adalimumab (Humira®), infliximab (Remicade®) and ustekinumab (Stelara®).

These medications are very effective in treating psoriasis but have potential side effects and require strict medical supervision, with regular check-ups.