Treatment of psoriasis is usually a series of steps, called the 1-2-3 approach, which may be added to each other, and entail:
Step 1—Topical: Medication applied directly to the surface of the skin
Step 2—Phototherapy: Phototherapy (light treatment) using ultraviolet light or sunlight alone or in combination with medication if medication alone does not improve symptoms
Step 3—Systemic: Medications taken internally (usually oral medication) to treat psoriasis systemically if topical medications and/or phototherapy do not improve symptoms
Your treatment will be based on several factors, including:
Often, the body will become resistant to certain types of treatment, and they will lose their effectiveness. When this happens, new treatment methods may be prescribed, and future treatments may be added as needed.
Treatment involves the following:
Surgical procedures are not a treatment option for psoriasis.
Psoriasis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116742/Psoriasis . Updated December 4, 2017. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Psoriasis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/psoriasis. Updated March 3, 2017. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Psoriatic disease. National Psoriasis Foundation website. Available at:
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Accessed December 22, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael Woods MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014