Best Psoriasis Treatment Options

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by the rapid buildup of skin cells that leads to scaling on the skin's surface. These scales are often whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches will crack and bleed. Treatment for psoriasis aims to reduce inflammation and clear the skin. Treatments can vary depending on the severity of psoriasis, the size of the patches, the type of psoriasis, and how the patient reacts to certain treatments.

Topical Treatments

For mild to moderate psoriasis, topical treatments applied directly to the skin can help reduce inflammation, lessen the turn over of skin cells, and suppress the immune system. Common topical treatments include:

Vitamin D analogues: These synthetic forms of vitamin D slow down the growth of skin cells.
Anthralin: This medication helps to normalize DNA activity in skin cells and reduce inflammation.

Topical retinoids: These are vitamin A derivatives that may decrease inflammation.

Salicylic acid: Available over-the-counter and by prescription, it helps shed psoriasis scales.

Coal tar: A traditional treatment for psoriasis, coal tar reduces scaling, itching, and inflammation.

Light Therapy

Phototherapy or light therapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis and under medical supervision. Treatments can be done in a doctor's office or at home with a light therapy unit. Types of light therapy include:

Sunlight: Regular short exposures to small amounts of sunlight can significantly improve lesions.

UVB phototherapy: Controlled doses of UVB light from an artificial light source may improve moderate to severe psoriasis symptoms.

Narrow-band UVB therapy: A newer type of psoriasis treatment, it is more effective than broadband UVB therapy and may cause fewer side effects.

Goeckerman therapy: A combination of UVB treatment with coal tar treatment.

Excimer laser: A focused form of UVB light that is used for localized areas of psoriasis.

Systemic Treatments

For moderate to severe psoriasis, doctors may prescribe medications that are taken orally or by injection. These include:

Methotrexate: Helps to decrease the production of skin cells and suppress inflammation.

Cyclosporine: Suppresses the immune system and is similar to methotrexate in effectiveness.

Biologics: Targeted drugs that affect parts of the immune system involved in psoriasis. Biologics used to treat psoriasis block the action of a specific type of immune cell called a T cell, or block proteins in the immune system, like tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 17-A, or interleukins 12 and 23.

Oral retinoids: These are vitamin A-related drugs that are particularly helpful for severe and treatment-resistant forms of psoriasis.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Many people with psoriasis seek out alternative therapies, including herbs, supplements, and dietary changes, though these treatments are not universally supported by the medical community. Commonly used therapies include:

Aloe Vera: Applying aloe extract cream several times daily might reduce redness, scaling, and itching inflammation.

Fish oil supplements: May be taken orally; fish oil can potentially reduce inflammation.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Lifestyle changes can help manage and alleviate symptoms. Daily baths, moisturizing, quitting smoking, and managing stress are all beneficial for people with psoriasis.

It's important to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment strategy based on the specific characteristics of the psoriasis. Each patient's case is unique, and treatment approaches are highly personalized.