Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. It causes thick and itchy patches of dead skin cells called plaques to form on your skin.
Treatment for plaque psoriasis depends on how severe your psoriasis is and how well your body responds to certain treatment types. Treatments for psoriasis generally fall into one of three groups:
- Topical treatments. Topical treatments are medicated creams, ointments, shampoos, and other products you put directly on your skin. Most mild to moderate cases of psoriasis are treated with some type of tropical cream.
- Systemic treatments. Systemic treatments can be either medications you take by mouth that work to slow down how fast your body makes skin cells or injected biologics that work to reduce inflammation in your body.
- Phototherapy treatments. Phototherapy treatments expose your skin to controlled ultraviolet light to help heal plaque patches.
Different combinations of these treatments — or different treatments entirely — might be used to treat different types of psoriasis.
The type of psoriasis you have will help determine the right treatment for you. For example, scalp psoriasis can be treated with topical, systemic, and phototherapy treatments, but topical therapy will include medicated shampoos.
Other psoriasis types with specific treatments include:
- Nail psoriasis. Nail psoriasis is treated with topical, systemic, and phototherapy treatments. Treatments are often applied in specific ways to treat nail psoriasis. For example, corticosteroids can be injected under the nails to reduce inflammation.
- Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is treated by managing pain and keeping arthritis from spreading. This might include medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), as well as physical therapy and lifestyle modifications. Sometimes, surgery is needed to correct painful joints.
- Guttate psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis sometimes clears up on its own. When it doesn’t, it’s often treated with phototherapy and oral systemic medications. Severe cases might be treated with injected biologic treatments.
- Inverse psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis is generally treated with topical creams. You might also be prescribed a cream or oral medication to help prevent yeast and fungal infections from developing in skin folds. In some severe cases, oral systemic medications might be needed.
- Pustular psoriasis. The treatment for pustular psoriasis will depend on the severity and type of pustular psoriasis. Topical, phototherapy, and systemic treatments are all used to treat pustular psoriasis. Combinations of all three types of treatments might be used in moderate to severe cases.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis. Erythrodermic psoriasis is a medical emergency. The first treatment goal will be stabilizing your body temperature and vital signs. Topical and other treatments are discussed once your erythrodermic symptoms have cleared up.
Some people have found success with natural remedies for psoriasis. For example:
- The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that some herbs, including evening primrose oil, fish oil, vitamin D, aloe vera, milk thistle, and Oregon grape can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
- Getting a massage can help improve your circulation and help you relax, leading to a reduction of psoriasis symptoms.
- Staying moisturized is a great way to help manage plaque psoriasis and keep your skin healthy.
- Using apple cider vinegar or Epsom salts can help soothe plaque patches and might help them clear up faster.
Check with your doctor before starting any natural treatments.
There’s not a specific diet for psoriasis. However, some
Additionally, some foods are known to be anti-inflammatory. Adding them to your diet can help reduce the overall inflammation in your body and manage your psoriasis.
Anti-inflammatory foods include:
- dark chocolate
- whole grains
- leafy green vegetables
Finally, avoiding alcohol might be a good idea for people with psoriasis. It can trigger and cause psoriasis outbreaks for many people. There’s also some evidence, according to research published in 2015, to show it might be linked to an overall higher risk of psoriasis.
Your treatment plan for psoriasis will depend on:
- the severity of your psoriasis
- the type of psoriasis you have
- how well you respond to treatments
There are multiple treatment options, but most types of psoriasis are treated with topical, phototherapy, or systemic treatments. Sometimes combinations of treatments from each category are used.
Lifestyle routines such as eating a nutrient-rich diet and keeping your skin moisturized can also help manage your symptoms.