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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

Psoriasis is a long-term skin disease that causes skin cells to grow faster than normal. The cells build up on the surface of your skin and cause red patches. The cause of psoriasis is not known. A problem with your immune system or a family history of psoriasis may increase your risk. Psoriasis is not contagious. Psoriasis cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Psoriasis suddenly covers larger areas of your body and becomes more painful.
  • You feel more tired than usual, you are dizzy, or you become confused.

Call your doctor or dermatologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your skin plaques are not getting better or are getting worse.
  • You cannot sleep because your skin itches.
  • Your skin plaques have pus draining from them, or they have soft yellow scabs.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Topical medicines can be ointments, creams, and pastes and are applied on the skin.
    • Moisturizers and emollients soothe your skin by keeping it moist and preventing dryness.
    • Steroids decrease inflammation.
    • Vitamin D and retinoids are vitamin-based creams that are used to clear plaques.
    • Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that helps decrease scaling of the skin and scalp.
    • Tar preparations decrease itching, scaling, and inflammation. They may be shampoos, creams, or bath oils.
  • Oral medicines are used to treat serious types of psoriasis. They include steroids and retinoids. They may also include medicines that decrease the rate of growth of your skin cells or that affect your immune system.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Manage psoriasis:

  • Take care of your skin. Apply emollients, lubricants, or moisturizing creams to your skin regularly. Apply these to clean, damp skin. Stop using them if they sting or irritate your skin. Use mild soaps and add bath oils as directed. Use warm water when you bathe. Do not use hot water.
  • Limit sun exposure. Short periods of sun exposure can help your psoriasis. Too much sun exposure or a sunburn can make your psoriasis worse. Talk to your dermatologist or healthcare provider about how much sun exposure is right for you.
    Prevent Sun Damage
  • Manage stress. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your provider what a healthy weight is for you. Your provider can help you create a weight-loss plan, if needed.
  • Watch for symptoms with new medicines or herbal supplements. Some medicines, including herbal supplements, may trigger a psoriasis flare-up. Ask if any of the medicines you take may be making your psoriasis worse. Always check for skin changes when you take your medicines.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can trigger a flare-up. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol can trigger a flare-up. Ask your healthcare provider if it is okay for you to drink alcohol.
  • Avoid triggers when possible. Your provider can help you find out what your triggers are and how to avoid them.

Follow up with your doctor or dermatologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Psoriasis

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.