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 affected)
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.