Is there a test for psoriasis?

To see if you have psoriasis, your doctor usually examines your skin, scalp, and nails for signs of the condition. They may also ask questions about your health and medical and family history.

This information can help the doctor figure out if you have psoriasis, and, if so, identify which type. To rule out other skin conditions that look like psoriasis, your doctor may take a small skin sample to look at under a microscope.

How is psoriasis treated?

While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that keep symptoms under control so that you can perform daily activities and sleep better. Your treatment may include:

  • Medications you put on your skin—such as creams, ointments, lotions, foams, or solutions—or others that are injected or taken by mouth.
  • Phototherapy, where your doctor shines an ultraviolet light on your skin in their office.

Who treats psoriasis?

Psoriasis is treated by:

  • Dermatologists, who specialize in conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. You may want to find a dermatologist that specializes in treating psoriasis.

Other health care providers who may be involved in your care include:

  • Rheumatologists, who specialize in conditions of the joints, muscle, and bone. Rheumatologists provide care to people with psoriatic arthritis.
  • Mental health professionals, who provide counseling and treat mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Primary health care providers, including family doctors, internists, pediatricians, or nurse practitioners. 

Living with psoriasis

Psoriasis can affect your day-to-day life, including work and sleep. However, doctors can work with you to help reduce the symptoms. Here are some things you can do:

  • Bathe in lukewarm water and use mild soap that has added oils. After bathing, put on heavy moisturizers while your skin is still damp.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • If you smoke, work with your doctor to make a plan to quit.
  • Moderate your use of alcohol.
  • Expose your skin to small amounts of sunlight. Limited sunlight can alleviate symptoms, but too much can make them worse, so consult your doctor for advice.
  • Try to identify things that trigger psoriasis flares and work to avoid them. Some people have found that stress, cold weather, skin injuries, certain medicines, and infections spark flares.
  • Join a support group or visit a mental health provider. Psoriasis can affect a person’s mental health, increasing the risk of anxiety and depression. Seeking out support can help you learn more about coping and living with the disease.