How Do You Treat Mild to Moderate Psoriasis? 7 Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed on 6/17/2022
How Do You Treat Mild to Moderate Psoriasis
Mild to moderate psoriasis is typically treated with medications and therapies that aim to reduce symptoms

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder that has periods of flare-ups and periods of remission. Mild to moderate psoriasis is typically treated with medications and therapies that aim to reduce inflammation and slow the rapid skin cell growth associated with the condition.

7 treatment options for mild to moderate psoriasis

  1. Medications:
    1. Topical corticosteroids
    2. Over-the-counter topicals
    3. Oral medications such as acitretin, apremilast, and methotrexate
    4. Topical calcineurin inhibitors such as Elidel (pimecrolimus) cream and Protopic (tacrolimus) ointment
    5. Topical vitamin D analogs (calcipotriol and calcitriol)
    6. Retinoid creams
    7. Hydrocortisone creams
    8. Salicylic acid
    9. Coal tar
  2. Biologic medications:
    1. Protein-based drugs used as injections or infusions made from living cells that target specific parts of the immune system:
    2. Etanercept
    3. Infliximab
    4. Adalimumab
  3. Systemic therapies:
    1. Medications that temper the underlying immune response that triggers nail malformation:
    2. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs such as methotrexate and Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  4. Phototherapy:
    1. Involves routinely exposing the skin to UVA and UVB lights that can help slow skin cell growth, suppress immune activity, and reduce irritation
  5. Psoralen plus ultraviolet A:
    1. Involves first soaking in medicine called psoralen and then undergoing careful, supervised exposure to UVA rays that are effective for treating discolored nails and nails that are separating from the fingers or toes
  6. Laser and photodynamic therapy:
    1. A type of light therapy that uses high-intensity lasers to target affected areas
  7. Home remedies:
    1. Avoiding hot water baths
    2. Using mild soaps and other skincare products free of alcohol and fragrances
    3. Using moisturizers for dry skin
    4. Avoiding stress with regular yoga and meditation
    5. Eating a nutritious diet rich in lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids
    6. Identifying and avoiding food triggers
    7. Quitting smoking
    8. Limiting alcohol

What are different types of psoriasis?

Psoriasis is characterized by skin cell accumulation and the formation of scaly, itchy, red, dry patches most commonly on the scalp, elbows, knees, face, palms, and trunk. 

Psoriasis has a genetic predisposition, which means it can run in families. It can affect men and women equally. Psoriasis may be classified into the following depending on the extent of skin involvement:

  • Mild psoriasis: Less than 3% of the body surface area (BSA) is affected 
  • Moderate psoriasis: About 3%-10% of BSA is affected 
  • Severe psoriasis: More than 10% of BSA is affected 

There are five types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque psoriasis or psoriasis vulgaris:
    • Most common type that affects up to 80% of people with psoriasis. 
    • Plaques can appear anywhere on the body as raised patches of inflamed, itchy, and painful skin with shiny white scales that can break and bleed at times.
  • Guttate psoriasis:
    • Affects roughly 8% of people with psoriasis and often begins in childhood or young adulthood.
    • Causes small, pink-red individual spots on the skin that appear on the trunk, upper arms, thighs, or scalp. 
  • Inverse psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis:
    • Affects 25% of people living with psoriasis
    • Characterized by red or discolored lesions in the skin folds and may appear smooth and shiny without scale formation.
    • Normally seen in the armpits, crotch region, under the breasts, or other skin folds such around the genitals and buttocks and worsens with sweating and rubbing.
  • Pustular psoriasis:
    • Rare type that affects about 3% of people living with psoriasis.
    • Formation of pustules (white, pus-filled, painful bumps) and scaling follows skin discoloration
    • Affects specific parts of the body such as the hands and feet or can be present more generally over the body.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis:
    • Severe and rare type of psoriasis that affects about 2% of people living with psoriasis.
    • Disrupts the skin barrier, causing protein and fluid loss and an increased risk of infections that can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia and congestive heart failure.


Types of Psoriasis: Medical Pictures and Treatments See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 6/17/2022
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David Martin. How Severe Is Your Psoriasis? WebMD:

Locations and Types. National Psoriasis Foundation:

Jacquiline Habashy. Psoriasis. Medscape: