Prevention & Treatment of Psoriasis

What can be done to prevent psoriasis?

Psoriasis cannot be prevented, but it can be controlled. Certain triggers may be controlled or eliminated to help curb the outbreaks. Take these measures to prevent flare-ups of psoriasis.

  • Avoid sunburn by limiting sun exposure, following recommendations from your healthcare provider.
  • Limit the skin's exposure to water by taking short showers and baths and by limiting swimming.
  • Eliminate triggers such as alcohol and smoking.
  • Avoid rubbing or scratching the skin.
  • Avoid clothing or sports equipment that rubs the skin.
  • Use skin care products recommended by the healthcare provider to avoid dry skin.
  • Use stress-management techniques as needed.
  • Discuss medicines with your healthcare provider and avoid those that trigger flare-ups of psoriasis.
  • Seek prompt treatment of infections and other illnesses.

How is psoriasis diagnosed?

A healthcare professional can diagnose psoriasis by doing a medical history and complete physical examination. The characteristic skin lesions will show what type of psoriasis an individual has.

What are the long-term effects of the disease?

Psoriasis can have an emotional, as well as a physical, impact on people. Psoriatic arthritis, a form of joint inflammation that occurs in some people who have arthritis, can be painful and disabling.

What are the risks to others?

Psoriasis is not contagious and poses no risk to others.

What are the treatments for the disease?

An assessment of lifestyle, including stress levels and aggravating factors, should be made. Triggers should be reduced or eliminated.

Gentle removal of scales is important. Oils or coal tar preparations can be added to baths, and a soft brush can be used to scrub lesions carefully. Emollient creams, such as those containing alpha hydroxy acids or salicylic acid, may be used after bathing to soften thick scales. A regular skin routine is important, even when no flare-up of psoriasis is present.

Mild to moderate cases of psoriasis can also be treated with medicines that are applied to the skin, including:

  • anthralin
  • coal tar
  • medicines derived from vitamin D
  • retinoids, or vitamin A derivatives
  • steroid creams and ointments, which may be covered with a dressing to increase their effectiveness