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Psoriasis treatment

Psoriasis treatment

Although it is known that psoriasis can't be cured, it reacts especially good to some systematic and topical treatments than can alleviate the disease. Usually, topical treatments for psoriasis are rubbed directly onto the damaged skin, in order to bring local relief. You are interested in medical treatments for psoriasis? Then continue reading to find out all about them.

Treatment of psoriasis

Since psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, it cannot be cured completely. However, there are certain systemic and topical treatment methods, which alleviate the condition very well. Topical medications are applied directly onto the damaged skin, whereas systemic therapy includes oral steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs. If you are interested in psoriasis treatment, read the full article below.


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Some factors must be considered before starting the treatment. These include:

  • Severity of the disease. Topical medications are usually enough to manage mild psoriasis. If the condition is more severe, phototherapy is recommended. For the most severe cases, systemic agents are prescribed.
  • Type of psoriasis. Treatment of guttate, pustular, inverse and plaque psoriasis slightly differs. For example, treatment of plaque psoriasis involves keratolytic agents to remove the scale. However, these products are unnecessary for inverse psoriasis because in this case the scale is absent.
  • Affected body areas. For instance, scalp psoriasis treatment requires special shampoos, steroid lotions and other liquid medications. Ordinary creams make hair messy; it’s difficult to apply them properly. Treatment of nail psoriasis also has its nuances.
  • Patients’ requests and expectations. Some people prefer natural or herbal treatment; others want to try dietary modifications. Very mild psoriasis can be effectively managed by topical over-the-counter medicine. Patients with severe disease need to understand that the disease won’t go away very soon. The whole treatment of psoriasis involves close cooperation between the patient and his doctor. It is impossible to fulfill every request of the patient, but it is important to discuss them.
  • Previous treatment. Both effective and ineffective treatment methods are taken into account before starting any new psoriasis therapy. In addition, any side effects of previously applied drugs must be taken into consideration.


Topical treatment of psoriasis

Treatment of psoriasis is somewhat similar to treatment of eczema. The basis consists of skin moisturizers and topical corticosteroids.

The most effective treatment of psoriasis includes topical corticosteroids and vitamin D analogues. It is best to use these substances in combination. Separate application does not give satisfactory results.

Coal tar and retinoids are also used to manage psoriasis, but the effect is insignificant. Some studies shows, that they’re as effective as placebo.

All topical medications must be applied directly onto damaged skin at least 1- 2 times a day.

UVB phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is another great psoriasis treatment method. It consists of affected skin exposure to UVB light using special lamps under medical supervision. It is known that UV light helps to manage chronic inflammatory skin diseases. In addition, similar effect can be achieved by exposing your skin to natural sunlight. However, before this you need to apply sunscreen in order to avoid sunburns.

Are biological drugs a miracle cure for psoriasis?

Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, there are some biological drugs, which have specific targets in your immune system. In some cases, these biological drugs can be very effective. Yet, they are not a miracle cure for psoriasis.

Biological drugs are only used to treat moderate or severe psoriasis (affecting more than 10% of your body surface) and psoriatic arthritis. They can be given intravenously or by infusion.

Biologics have been used to manage psoriasis since the start of XX century. In the last decade, this treatment method has evolved greatly and become much more available.

Biological medicine is very different from traditional immunosuppressant drugs, which attack the whole immune system. These drugs have specific targets and attack only them. For example, some of biological medicine targets are TNF alpha, interleukin 23, interleukin 12.

Usage of biologics is limited by their cost and side effects. They are generally safe, however, adverse effects such as lymphoma and greater risk of infection is a considerable disadvantage.  TNF- alpha inhibitors increase risk of opportunistic infections. Still, the majority of patients do not experience any side effects, even if the drug is used for a long time.

Examples of biologics, used to treat psoriasis:

  • Adalimumab (anti- TNF)
  • Secukinumab (anti- IL17A)
  • Etarnecept (anti- TNF)
  • Infliximab (anti- TNF)
  • Ustekinumab (anti- IL12, anti-IL23)


Biological drugs are made of specific proteins; they’re not a chemical compound. However, this does not mean that biological therapy is harmless and natural.  It is a very potent and effective medicine, administered only when milder treatment options do not work. Sometimes, especially in very severe cases, the only medicine that can manage this disease is biologics. Biological therapy is prescribed only by your doctor.

Biological therapy is also used to manage other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis etc.







Scalp psoriasis treatment

At least half of patients suffering from psoriasis have their scalp involved. The skin in this area renews very quickly and tends to form psoriatic scales. Scalp psoriasis can be mild, moderate or even very severe, spreading to the face, forehead, behind the ears or inside them. Management strategies depend on the severity of the disease.

Mild to moderate scalp psoriasis can be successfully treated at home using natural remedies and over-the-counter medicine. If you are suffering from severe scalp psoriasis, you should consult a dermatologist. He will examine your skin and prescribe suitable medications.

Very mild disease usually goes away on its own, so it does not require any special treatment. Moderate psoriasis needs to be managed, because it can get worse.

Since the condition is chronic, it is impossible to cure it completely. Various treatment strategies help to manage the disease successfully, so the breakouts become rare and not so severe.

Most common treatment methods for scalp psoriasis include special shampoos and topical creams that are applied directly on the scalp skin. It can be difficult to apply the cream because scalp skin is hairy. In addition, some creams can also induce hair loss; they also make your hair messy and oily.

In more severe scalp psoriasis cases, you will need systemic therapy, administered in combination with topically applied medicine. Systemic treatment is also helpful if the scalp is not the only affected area. Systemic drugs will simultaneously improve the condition of all affected skin regions.

Topical medications that are used in managing scalp psoriasis:

  • Potent and very potent corticosteroids
  • Vitamin D analogues
  • Dithranol
  • Coal tar shampoo
  • Tarazotene

If scalp skin becomes infected, antibiotics are also added to the treatment plan.

Some scientific evidence suggests that the best results are achieved by using very potent corticosteroids, applied once or twice a day. Increased frequency of application is not linked to better results. When potent corticosteroids are used more than twice a day, more withdrawal symptoms may occur.

In addition, topical vitamin D analogues can also effectively manage scalp psoriasis. Frequency of relapses using these topical agents is very low. However, vitamin D analogues grant better results when applied in combination with topical corticosteroids.

Tar products are said to decrease inflammation and irritation of skin.  Based on these properties, coal tar products are supposed to be effective treatment for psoriasis. Anyhow, latest studies have shown that these substances are not effective enough; in some cases, they’re as potent as placebo. For example, coal tar shampoo had no significant effect in scalp psoriasis management.

Topical medications will work better, if you soften your skin before applying them. Special psoriasis skincare products, which contain active ingredients such as lactic acid, urea or salicylic acid, will remove the formed scale. It is very important to remove those thick scales so that medication will penetrate better into the inflamed skin. As far as scalp psoriasis in concerned, you should look for shampoos containing substances that are listed above. Salicylic acid is a great choice for your scalp psoriasis management because it is a keratolytic agent.

Precautions that you need to take into consideration:

  • To protect your ears, put cotton balls in them before applying any medication on scalp skin.
  • Do not apply topical creams more frequently than your doctor instructed. Very frequent application of potent medication can provoke hair loss.

Treatments of scalp psoriasis may also include corticosteroid injections, but there aren’t many scientific studies about the efficacy of this method.

Sometimes scalp psoriasis may become infected. In this case, crusts appear and regional lymph nodes swell. Infected scalp psoriasis is treated with antibiotics.



Natural remedies for psoriasis

There are many natural remedies, which may help you to manage your skin condition. The most popular are:

  • Food supplements. Some dietary supplements may alleviate symptoms of mild psoriasis. These include vitamin D (whose analogues are used as active ingredients in topical psoriasis medicine) and fish oil. You should take these substances at least once a day. Other great food supplements, which may improve your skin condition, are the ones containing shark cartilages. Extract of shark cartilage has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, helps to manage psoriasis and even arthritis.
  • Olive oil. It can be used as a home remedy for scalp psoriasis. Just take a few spoons of olive oil and rub it to your scalp skin. To clear your eruptions faster, repeat this whenever you’re taking a shower.
  • Sun light. Limited sun exposure has a positive effect on psoriatic rashes. However, it is very important to use sunblock and avoid overindulgence of sunlight, because sunburns will only worsen your rashes. Before going outside, do not forget to apply a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Spend 20 minutes a day in sunlight and soon you’ll notice a noticeable improvement of your skin condition.
  • Massage. If your psoriasis is mostly triggered by stress, massages are one of the best natural remedies to alleviate it. It is natural and very pleasant psoriasis management option. Massages help to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, it can reduce the pain of psoriatic arthritis. If, for some reason, you don’t want to visit a professional masseur, your spouse can perform this procedure. Massage is a part of holistic psoriasis treatment system. It is very enjoyable and rather effective management method.
  • Yoga. It is another way to relieve stress and therefore ease symptoms of psoriasis. Like massages, yoga is also a part of holistic treatment system; it improves your health condition and general well-being. You can perform yoga at home or join special yoga classes. Only 20 minutes of yoga per day will significantly improve your health condition. It is also recommended to involve some meditation and breathing exercises, which relieve stress too. Yoga is a perfect home remedy for psoriasis management because it does not require any additional supplies. Even though there is a lot of information about yoga on the internet or in special books, it is recommended to attend several yoga classes before doing yoga exercises at home. This way you’ll learn how to practice yoga correctly and avoid injuries.
  • Staying hydrated. The most natural and basic treatment of psoriasis includes simply drinking more water. As well as yoga and massage, drinking enough water improves your general health and serves as alternative psoriasis treatment method. Water maintains your skin moisture and therefore prevents the formation of psoriatic scales.
  • Dietary modifications. Diet may play a role in psoriasis. There is some evidence that people with celiac disease are more likely to develop psoriasis, so gluten free diet could possibly help to manage this skin condition. This is not scientifically proven but some patients manage their psoriasis better when following gluten-free diet. If you have been considering about cutting out gluten from your diet, you should try it. Another helpful dietary modification as far as psoriasis management is concerned is to add as many colorful fruits and vegetables into your daily ration as you can. They contain many antioxidants that help to fight inflammation. In addition, they’re beneficial for you general well-being.
  • Dead Sea salts. It has been known for centuries that swimming in the Dead Sea is one of psoriasis treatment methods that really work. If you can’t go to the Dead Sea, you can try this method at home using Dead Sea salts. It reduces subjective psoriasis symptoms such as itchiness and burning sensation. In addition, it improves general skin condition.
  • Tea tree oil. It is another over- the- counter natural remedy for psoriasis. Though it is not scientifically proven, some people report, that tea tree oil helps to reduce symptoms of psoriasis. Tea tree oil is beneficial for several skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis. However, it might irritate your skin and cause contact dermatitis. If you want to try tea tree oil for your skin condition, start from small amounts and increase the dosage gradually. You can also add some drops of this oil into your other skincare products.
  • Turmeric. It’s an herbal remedy for psoriasis. Some patients report that using turmeric as a supplement aided them to achieve good results in treating psoriasis and helped to alleviate outbreaks. Since turmeric is a part of ginger family, it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be used as a food supplement in a pill or as spices. For psoriasis management, it is recommended to consume 1,5-3 g of turmeric a day.
  • Avoidance of fragrances. Fragrances are put in most cosmetic products to make them smell good. They can irritate your skin and provoke psoriasis breakouts. Try to use fragrance-free skincare products, which are developed for sensitive skin.
  • Air humidifier. Correct indoor humidity prevents dry skin and so lessens formation of the scales.
  • Warm baths. This relaxing procedure reduces itch and calms the skin. Lukewarm baths with milk, olive oil and other natural substances may improve your skin condition and contribute to the effective management of psoriasis.
  • Avoidance of alcohol and tobacco. These bad habits cause psoriasis breakouts and worsen your general skin condition. In addition, they aggravate the already existing disease and complicate the whole treatment process. Simply giving up on alcohol and cigarettes will make a huge progress in your psoriasis management.
  • Oats. Although scientifically unproven, but some patients share positive feedback about oath baths. According to them, oats can help to reduce itchiness and redness of the skin.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can be used to manage scalp psoriasis. Try applying organic apple cider vinegar directly on the scalp skin several times a week. It is a powerful disinfectant and can reduce burning sensation. You can also dilute it with water at a ratio 1:1. The results become visible within several weeks. However, apple cider vinegar is not an option if your skin is severely damaged; there are signs of bleeding or any small wounds.
  • Creams with Aloe Vera are a natural remedy for psoriasis. It can be bought over-the-counter. The cream must contain at least 0.5% of Aloe vera extract. Some patients report that skincare products with Aloe vera reduce itchiness and redness, especially if they’re applied at least 3 times a day.
  • Capsaicin. Capsaicin is an active ingredient, found in chili peppers. It blocks pain-transmitting nerve endings. Creams with this substance help to reduce pain, inflammation, redness, itchiness and scaling. However, safety of capsaicin is not completely investigated; besides, some people may experience a burning sensation after application of such creams.
  • Mahonia Aquifolium, also known as Oregon Grape, is another active ingredient that might be suitable for managing psoriasis. The cream should contain at least 10 % of the ingredient to show visible results.


Although there are many natural remedies for psoriasis, they’re not equally effective for every patient. For some, these methods will contribute to achieving great results, while for others they might be completely ineffective. In very mild psoriasis cases, over-the-counter medicine and lifestyle modifications are usually enough to clear the eruptions. As for severe psoriasis, treatment is conducted at outpatient hospitals under strict medical supervision. If you have any questions about your skin condition, do not hesitate to consult a dermatologist.


 Ayurvedic treatment for psoriasis

Ayurveda is an ancient, holistic treatment system. According to Ayurveda, psoriasis is caused by vitiation of Vata and Kapha. These are two basic energies that must form equilibrium in human’s body.

Ayurveda also offers some methods for managing psoriasis. In accordance with this system, some lifestyle changes may greatly contribute to improvement of your skin condition. The main rules by Ayurveda to manage psoriasis are:

  • Do not suppress your natural urges such as urination, bowel emptying or vomiting.
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Consume easily digestible fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid animal fats, processed foods.
  • Do not peel or scratch your skin.
  • Avoid acid foods.
  • Do not eat opposite foods at the same meal.
  • Consume more fruits, vegetables and their juice.
  • Limit the intake of salty and sour foods.
  • Apply avocado oil directly on your skin lesions.
  • Use cod liver oil, linseed oil, vitamin E and zinc as natural psoriasis treatment method.
  • Drink fresh bitter gourd juice mixed with fresh lemon juice on empty stomach.
  • Take baths in seawater.
  • Try deep breathing and relaxation exercises to improve your mental health.
  • Use only clean cotton clothes.
  • Use herbal scrubber instead of soap while taking a bath.
  • Instead of regular butter, choose ghee butter.
  • Reduce the intake of yogurt.
  • Practice yoga regularly.
  • Avoid seafood.



Nail psoriasis treatment

Treating skin psoriasis may also have positive effect on your nail condition. However, nails grow very slowly, so it may take some time until you see satisfactory results. Every discussed method can be successfully applied to manage your nail psoriasis. These include:

  • Phototherapy, also known as light therapy. Affected skin is exposed to specific wavelengths of light, using specific light sources. As far as nail lesions are concerned, UVB phototherapy works best.
  • Biological drugs
  • Systemic drugs, such as methotrexate or acitretin.
  • Topical medications, such as vitamin D analogues or corticosteroids. However, these do not always prove to be effective.
  • In some cases, corticosteroid injections to the nail bed can grant positive results.
  • It is of crucial importance to avoid any nail trauma since it only aggravates the existing condition.



Facial psoriasis treatment

The most commonly affected facial regions are upper forehead, eyebrows, hairline, area between the upper lip and nose. Since facial skin is thinner and far more sensitive than on any other body part, treating psoriasis on face requires more efforts and patience.

There’s vast majority of different treatment options. In order to achieve the best results, you should always consult a dermatologist, who will prescribe the most suitable medications for your facial psoriasis.




Psoriasis treatment by laser procedures

Some cases of psoriasis can be well managed by laser procedures. A laser uses intense, focused portions of ultraviolet light and targets it to the damaged skin. It does not affect surrounding healthy skin.

Laser treatment for psoriasis only works for mild and moderate forms of the disease. It is not suitable for severe psoriasis. Treatment by laser is somewhat similar to phototherapy, but because of its intensity, fewer procedures are required.


Treatment for guttate psoriasis

In mild cases, guttate psoriasis treatment is unnecessary because the disease goes away by itself within several weeks. However, in most cases, treatment is needed and it may include:

  • Phototherapy or exposure to direct sunlight
  • Topical agents such as corticosteroids or vitamin D analogues
  • Antibiotics are prescribed if guttate psoriasis became infected. In addition, antibiotics are needed to treat any underlying streptococcal infection.
  • Skin moisturizers are helpful for any type of psoriasis



Treatment of severe psoriasis

There are many psoriasis treatment options. However, severe psoriasis is treated a bit differently than mild and moderate forms of the disease.

Usually, severe psoriasis is treated in outpatient hospitals. Treatment plan includes phototherapy and systemic drugs such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, apremilast or biological therapy. Biologics are applied only when other treatment methods failed.

Treatment of severe psoriasis needs patience and great effort. In addition, it requires a close collaboration between the patient and his doctor.

What is the best psoriasis treatment method?

There is no answer to this question. Firstly, each condition is slightly different. Secondly, psoriasis in general is a chronic and therefore incurable disease. However, there are many different treatment options. You just need to consult a dermatologist who will help you to find the most effective treatment options for your condition.