Plaque Psoriasis Treatment: Effective Solutions for Relief

Living with plaque psoriasis can be tough, but you’re not alone. Many have dealt with its challenges. Finding the right treatment is crucial. Fortunately, there are great options to help manage your symptoms.

This condition leads to thick, scaly patches due to rapid skin cell buildup. Even though there’s no cure, treatments can ease your symptoms. Your dermatologist can create a plan just for you.

Stay active in your treatment and work closely with your healthcare team. Learning about treatments tailored to you is key. No matter what your symptoms are, there’s relief to be found.


Key Takeaways

  • Plaque psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells, leading to thick, scaly patches.
  • There are various treatment options available, including topical creams, phototherapy, systemic medications, and biologic therapies.
  • Collaboration with your dermatologist is crucial for developing a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and symptoms.
  • Identifying and avoiding triggers, making lifestyle modifications, and incorporating complementary therapies can also play a significant role in managing plaque psoriasis.
  • Ongoing management and open communication with your healthcare team are essential for achieving long-term relief and improving your overall well-being.

Understanding Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is a long-lasting skin disorder. It makes skin cells grow too quickly. This causes thick, rough areas called plaques on the body. These patches often show up on the elbows, knees, and scalp but can be anywhere.

It’s not something you can spread to others. An overactive immune system is behind it. This immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin, causing swelling and fast skin growth.

Symptoms and Causes

Plaque psoriasis looks like red, raised skin covered in white or silvery scales. Many factors can make it worse. These include family history, stress, smoking, and getting sunburned. Plaque psoriasis is seen as an immune system issue that targets the skin.

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Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are usually the first step against mild to moderate psoriasis. Corticosteroid creams and ointments are common starters. Sensitive areas get mild choices, and tough spots get stronger formulas.

Corticosteroid Creams and Ointments

Vitamin D analogues slow skin cell growth. They might work with steroids. Salicylic acid and coal tar help reduce issues like scaling and itching. Immunomodulators change how the immune system acts. Retinoids need a doctor’s okay to use.

Vitamin D Analogues

Nonprescription and prescription salicylic acid shampoos and scalp solutions lessen scalp psoriasis scaling. Forms of coal tar reduce scaling, itching, and inflammation but might cause skin problems and stains. Anthralin slows skin cell growth but can irritate and stain the skin too.

Salicylic Acid and Coal Tar Products

Some remedies for psoriasis are over-the-counter (OTC), but many need prescriptions. Creams, ointments, and more are used for plaque psoriasis. There’s a small chance high coal tar use could lead to cancer, research suggests.

Other Topical Medications

For psoriasis, weak and strong corticosteroids are used. There are also non-steroid options like roflumilast and tapinarof. Vitamin D analogues are better for the skin long-term than steroids.

Anthralin helps with skin cell growth and inflammation. Pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic) ease psoriasis-related swelling. Tapinarof (Vtama) is a new cream for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults.

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It’s common to use topical treatments with other methods for the best psoriasis care.

Topical Treatment Description Key Benefits Potential Side Effects
Corticosteroids Available in various forms like oils, creams, lotions, etc. Most frequently prescribed for mild to moderate psoriasis Mild options for sensitive areas, stronger formulations for tougher patches
Vitamin D Analogues Includes calcipotriene and calcitriol Slow skin cell growth, often used with topical steroids Typically more expensive than corticosteroids
Salicylic Acid Shampoos and scalp solutions, available OTC or by prescription Reduce scaling of scalp psoriasis None reported for recommended usage
Coal Tar Products in various forms like shampoo or cream Reduce scaling, itching, and inflammation Skin irritation, staining, potential cancer risk with high doses
Immunomodulators Pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic) Assist with inflammation associated with psoriasis Not recommended for long-term use due to potential risks
Retinoids Tazarotene and other prescription-only options Slow skin cell growth Skin irritation, increased sensitivity to light
Non-Steroid Topicals Roflumilast (Zoryve) and tapinarof (Vtama) Alternative options for psoriasis treatment Mild side effects, generally safer than steroids long-term

Using topical treatments with other methods is often the best approach for Psoriasis care.


Phototherapy is a key treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. It can be used alone or with other medicines. The skin is exposed to specific natural or artificial light. This helps slow down the fast growth of skin cells that cause psoriasis plaques.

Narrowband UVB Therapy

This therapy targets a certain kinda of UVB light, between 311 and 313 nanometers. It’s better at treating psoriasis and causes less skin irritation than other UVB light.

Psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) Therapy

PUVA therapy combines a medication with UVA light. This makes the skin react more to the light. It can reduce scaling, inflammation, and redness. But, there’s a higher risk of side effects including skin cancer.

Excimer Laser Therapy

Excimer laser therapy treats only the psoriasis areas with intense UVB light. It’s more focused and effective. It’s done twice a week with a dermatologist for 4 to 5 weeks.

Phototherapy is usually done at the doctor’s office a few times a week. But, some people might use at-home UVB units if their doctor recommends it.

Phototherapy Type Frequency of Treatments Duration of Treatments Effectiveness Rate
Narrowband UVB 3 days per week 2 to 3 months 50 to 90 out of 100 people
PUVA 2 to 3 visits per week 25 to 30 sessions 50 to 90 out of 100 people
Excimer Laser Twice a week 4 to 5 weeks 50 to 90 out of 100 people

While phototherapy can work well for psoriasis, it may increase skin cancer risk. It’s important to think about your skin type, health history, and how you react to medications before you start light therapy.

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Systemic Medications

If other treatments haven’t helped, or your psoriasis is severe, your doctor might suggest systemic medications. These affect your whole immune system. Medicines like methotrexate and cyclosporine are types of immunosuppressants. They work by reducing skin cell growth and inflammation. But, they can cause side effects, like a higher risk of infections and harm to organs.

Methotrexate and Cyclosporine

Methotrexate helps with psoriasis by halting the immune system and slowing down the growth of skin cells. You might see better skin after 4 to 6 weeks of taking it. It can lead to side effects such as feeling sick, tiredness, possible liver harm, and issues with blood cells. Cyclosporine, on the other hand, is for very severe psoriasis. It’s used when other treatments have not worked, and it’s taken by mouth.


Retinoids, like oral acitretin, are made from vitamin A and can be useful for treating psoriasis, particularly the pustular kind. Still, they cause side effects such as losing hair and issues with the liver or bones. These systemic drugs can be taken in pills or injected.

Biologic Therapies

Biologic therapies are a modern type of medicine made from living materials. They target specific immune cells or proteins linked to psoriasis. They help a lot with moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. These drugs are grouped as TNF inhibitors, IL-17 inhibitors, and IL-23 inhibitors. Each group works on a different part of the immune system. You take them through injections or IV infusions. While considered safe, researchers need to learn more about their long-term effects. Also, they might cost a lot.

TNF Inhibitors

TNF inhibitors include Enbrel® (etanercept), Humira® (adalimumab), and Remicade® (infliximab). They stop tumor necrosis factor (TNF) from causing inflammation in psoriasis. They work really well for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

IL-17 Inhibitors

IL-17 inhibitors are medicines like Cosentyx® (secukinumab) and Taltz® (ixekizumab). They aim at the interleukin-17 (IL-17) protein to help with psoriasis plaques. These drugs are very effective in treating moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

IL-23 Inhibitors

IL-23 inhibitors include Skyrizi™ (risankizumab) and Tremfya™ (guselkumab). They block the IL-23 protein, which is key in psoriasis. These biologics are promising for moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Biologic Therapy Mechanism of Action Approved Indications Administration
TNF Inhibitors Block tumor necrosis factor (TNF) Plaque psoriasis, Psoriatic arthritis Injections every 2-4 weeks
IL-17 Inhibitors Block interleukin-17 (IL-17) Plaque psoriasis, Psoriatic arthritis Injections every 2-4 weeks
IL-23 Inhibitors Block interleukin-23 (IL-23) Plaque psoriasis, Psoriatic arthritis Injections every 4-12 weeks

Plaque Psoriasis Treatment

The main aim in treating plaque psoriasis is to use the best methods with the least risks. Treatments may be a mix, often starting with mild choices like creams and light therapy. If these don’t help, stronger medications or biologic therapies may be used. The plan depends on how serious your psoriasis is and your past treatments. It also considers any other health issues. It’s key to work with your dermatologist to find the right plan for you.

Most often, corticosteroids are the first meds used for mild to moderate psoriasis. Vitamin D analogues, such as calcipotriene, are also good but pricier. For sensitive areas, drugs like tacrolimus help since steroid creams can irritate thin skin.

People with more severe psoriasis might try biologic drugs like ustekinumab or ixekizumab. Keep in mind, these can be costly and insurance might not cover them. Medicines like methotrexate are another option but can have serious side effects. Your dermatologist should closely watch your use of these drugs.

To effectively tackle plaque psoriasis, working closely with your dermatologist is essential. Together, you can create a custom treatment plan. By trying different tactics, you can discover what works best for you. This can lead to better management of your condition in the long term.

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Managing Flare-ups

With psoriasis, you have flare-ups when symptoms worsen, alongside times of remission. To handle these psoriasis flare-ups, knowing and avoiding triggers is key. Stress, skin injury, infections, and certain medications are common triggers.

Identifying and Avoiding Triggers

Notice what makes your psoriasis worse. A journal can help track when flare-ups happen and what might cause them. This way, you can see if certain habits or situations make your condition worse.

Once you figure out what your triggers are, try to steer clear of them if possible. This is an important step in managing your psoriasis for better health.

Lifestyle Modifications

Healthy changes can also keep your psoriasis in check, lowering your risk of other health issues. This includes keeping a healthy weight, eating anti-inflammatory foods, and being active. Such choices can help with your psoriasis flare-ups.

It’s smart to work with a dermatologist on a plan that fits you, focusing on your triggers. A plan that includes lifestyle changes can lead to long-term improvement of your psoriasis symptoms.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Some with psoriasis use other treatments along with standard ones to handle symptoms. These methods, although needing more study, might give extra help to ease symptoms.

Herbal Remedies

Many herbs like aloe vera, capsaicin, curcumin, and Oregon grape could ease inflammation and help diminish plaques. But, it’s vital to talk to your doctor before adding any new herbs. They might not mix well with your meds or make your symptoms worse.

Dietary Supplements

Probiotics are among the dietary supplements that have become popular for helping with psoriasis. Research links our stomach health to the skin. Some evidence points to probiotics in reducing inflammation and enhancing skin quality.

Mind-Body Practices

Acupuncture and massage therapy show promise in lessening psoriasis pain, especially for those with psoriatic arthritis. These practices work to calm you, lower stress, and boost your health. This is good news for those managing this long-term health issue.

Talk to your doctor before starting any non-conventional treatments for psoriasis. They can guide you on what might work well and what could be risky or not match with your current treatments. This ensures you get care that is both safe and effective for you.

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Working with Your Dermatologist

It’s key to work closely with your dermatologist to manage plaque psoriasis well. Regular check-ups help your doctor keep track of your condition. They can also see if your treatment is working or if changes are needed.

Your dermatologist will help personalize a treatment approach for you. This is based on how severe your symptoms are, how you’ve responded to previous treatments, and other health factors. Talking openly with your doctor about what you’re going through is crucial. This helps in creating a treatment plan that can give you the best relief and long-term care for your plaque psoriasis.

Importance of Regular Check-ups

Seeing your dermatologist often is very important in managing plaque psoriasis. During these visits, your doctor will closely check your skin and your treatment plan. They can tweak your treatment to make sure it’s as effective as possible, offering you the best relief.

Tailoring the Treatment Plan

Your dermatologist will make a personalized plan just for you. They’ll look at the details of your plaque psoriasis, how you did on past treatments, and your health in general. This special plan might include creams, light therapy, drugs, or biologics to meet your needs best. Keeping up honest communication with your doctor will help in changing and improving your treatment over time.

Coping with Psoriasis

Dealing with plaque psoriasis is hard on you physically and mentally. It’s great to join a support group or connect with others online. They can offer support, advice, and tips to manage your condition better.

It’s key to look after your emotional well-being. Try stress management techniques and self-care activities. And if you feel down, it’s okay to ask for help for depression or anxiety. Your mental health is as vital as your physical health.

Support Groups and Resources

Finding others who live with psoriasis can really help you feel understood. It’s wise to join a local or online support group. This way, you can swap stories, learn new ways to cope, and get your hands on tips and tricks to handle your psoriasis.

There are also organizations and materials out there that can teach you more and help you face the issues psoriasis brings.

Emotional Well-being

Looking after your mental health is very important. Especially when the effects of psoriasis hit you hard on a personal and social level. Controlling stress through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing helps ease the pressure.

Therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, is beneficial if you have a low opinion of yourself or feel alone. It’s also crucial to have a strong support network. Don’t forget to stick to self-care routines, such as staying active. They play a big part in your overall health and help you cope with psoriasis.


Plaque psoriasis stays for a long time and needs a careful, personal treatment approach. Working with your dermatologist to try different treatments can help a lot. Together, you’ll find what works best to cut your symptoms and give you relief for years.

It’s vital to figure out what causes your flare-ups and try to avoid them. Changing your lifestyle and using other types of therapy can be big helps too. This can make your condition better and help you feel healthier overall.

Remember, handling plaque psoriasis is a journey that changes with time. Yet, with proper care and help, you can grab the reins and lead a rich life. Keeping up a good connection with your doctor and being involved in managing it are key steps towards success.

Click here for proven methods to help you manage psoriasis.


What are the different treatment options for plaque psoriasis?

For plaque psoriasis, treatments range from creams to light therapy and medication. Doctors usually begin with creams and ointments. This includes corticosteroids and vitamin D creams. If those aren’t enough, they might try phototherapy, which uses light. In more severe cases, systemic medications or biologics might be needed.

How does plaque psoriasis develop, and what are the common symptoms?

Plaque psoriasis is when the skin cells grow too fast, causing thick, scaly patches. These usually show up on elbows, knees, and the scalp. You’ll see red, inflamed areas that are covered in silvery scales.

What are the different types of topical treatments for plaque psoriasis?

Topical treatments include corticosteroids, vitamin D creams, and more. Salicylic acid and coal tar are also used. Prescriptions may include retinoids. These help manage the condition by reducing inflammation and cell growth.

How does phototherapy work for treating plaque psoriasis?

Phototherapy uses light to treat psoriasis. Different light types can slow skin cell growth. Treatments include UVB therapy, PUVA therapy, and laser therapy. They target affected areas to decrease symptoms.

What are systemic medications used for plaque psoriasis treatment?

Systemic medications affect the whole immune system. They include methotrexate and oral retinoids. Doctors may use these for moderate to severe cases. They reduce skin cell growth but have side effects that need watching.

How do biologic therapies differ from other plaque psoriasis treatments?

Biologic therapies are advanced drugs that target psoriasis at the immune level. They work on severe cases and psoriatic arthritis. These drugs, like TNF inhibitors, are chosen based on their specific immune targets.

How can I manage plaque psoriasis flare-ups?

To manage flare-ups, know and avoid your triggers. Stress, skin injury, and certain meds can worsen symptoms. Healthy habits like eating well and staying active help too. They keep your immune system in balance.

What complementary or alternative therapies can be used for plaque psoriasis?

Some seek alternative methods like herbs, acupuncture, and supplements. These can be beneficial but may not work for everyone. Always check with your doctor before trying anything new.

Why is it important to work closely with a dermatologist for plaque psoriasis treatment?

It’s crucial to work with a dermatologist for plaque psoriasis. They help adjust treatment as needed and keep an eye on your health. A good relationship with your dermatologist ensures the best care for you.

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