Treatment overview

Skin conditions such as psoriasis can be treated directly, because the part affected (the skin) is on the outside. In some people this direct action isn't enough and medication has to be taken which works on the body’s internal immune system to damp it down. There is still a lot to find out about psoriasis and several new treatments are being developed. It is important to remember that psoriasis treatments available in each country can vary.


What does that mean for me?

There is a growing range of treatments that can be used individually or together.

  • The use of emollients (moisturisers) and topical medication (ointments, creams and gels) are an important part of treatment. They will probably be the first thing that your doctor prescribes. For most people with psoriasis these will be the best treatments for keeping psoriasis under control.
  • Light therapy may be used as it has a direct action on parts of the skin but is not suitable for everyone and needs to be carefully monitored. This is only available at special centres. Sunbeds (tanning beds) do not work in the same way.
  • There is a range of medicines that can be prescribed by a specialist doctor (dermatologist). They are taken as tablets or injections. These medicines are only used under certain conditions and the effects are carefully monitored by your doctor.

What does that mean for me?

In the future, it is hoped that we will know which treatments will work the best for which people. But for now it is a case of trying different treatments until you find the right combination that works for you to keep your psoriasis under control.

There’s lots to think about when making decisions about your treatment such as the practicalities of using or taking a treatment and if there are any side-effects.


What does that mean for me?

Treatments sometimes have side-effects (unwanted changes in the body). Side-effects may happen in some people and not others. They may be mild and do you no harm.

Some people are happy to put up with these unwanted effects, others are not. Some medicines that work internally may cause effects that cannot be felt but could perhaps do harm such as increasing your blood pressure or damaging the liver. Your doctor will monitor you carefully to check everything is ok.

You may decide to use a less effective treatment if you are happy enough with your skin rather than use a more successful treatment that you are not so happy using.


What does that mean for me?

You can give your treatment the best chance of working and reduce the chance of side-effects if you take steps to reduce alcohol, stop smoking and maintain a healthy weight.

Doctor's top-tip

Some treatments may take a while to work or it may take a while to work out the right amount of medicine you need.

If it takes a while to find the right treatment for you, you may start to feel like you are going around in circles. Sometimes it may seem like hard work for little benefit.

Try writing down how you feel about your treatment or taking pictures of any changes in your skin so you can discuss with your doctor if the treatment is working for you.

Nurse's top-tip

Sometimes the appearance of your psoriasis may seem worse before it gets better by looking redder. This can happen as the scale reduces but the skin underneath remains red for a while.

If you feel unsure about the treatment ask for advice from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist rather than stop using it.

Patient’s top-tip

Some treatments are easier to tolerate than others. 

Don’t give up trying different treatments and accept that things can change over time.

Make notes

Note down all the treatments you've used in the past.

Use this space to write down any thoughts about your treatments

What do I use?

What works for me?

What doesn't work so well?

Which of the ‘Treatments for Psoriasis'
leaflets might be useful now?

For further advice or information please consult your healthcare provider or psoriasis patient association in your region


The University of Manchester
Manchester Academic Health Science Centre
psoriasis association
Salford Royal NHS
Funded by NIHR
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