Psoriasis therapy

In recent years and decades, our understanding of psoriasis has improved significantly. This has opened up new treatment options.

Skin care for psoriasis

The success of treatment for this chronic skin disease, which is prone to relapse, depends to a large extent on the treatment discipline of those affected – especially when it comes to skin care. The basis of any treatment, even in the interval without symptoms, is moisturizing skin care and the avoidance of potential provocation factors. The right oil content and the preservation of the skin’s natural acid mantle are crucial. Alkali-free cleansing lotions and moisturizing shower oils are used for this purpose. Baths with added oil and salt loosen dandruff and help to heal inflammatory processes on the skin.

Local therapy

In the majority of psoriasis patients (80 percent), the infestation is so limited, e.g. on the scalp, elbows and knees, that local treatment is sufficient for successful therapy.

Salicylic acid

Is essentially used to remove the scales and
in a concentration of between 5 and 15 percent in oil (for the scalp) or ointments.

Urea (urea)

Is primarily found in skin care products (concentrations between 8 and 12 percent) and also helps to loosen dandruff. It is also a natural moisturizing factor for the skin.


In various strengths and bases (lotion, cream, ointment, foam, plaster, shampoo), cortisone is the most commonly used substance for the treatment of psoriasis. Cortisone inhibits the inflammation and the hasty cell division of the epidermis. They are characterized by excellent efficacy and tolerability and, when used properly, low undesirable effects. Prolonged and continuous use of cortisone preparations can lead to side effects such as skin thinning and signs of ageing; they should therefore be reviewed regularly However, when used correctly, cortisone preparations are of great benefit to many patients. Caution is advised when applying to the genital area, face and children.

Vitamin D supplements

They also have an influence on inflammation, cell division and scaling of the skin, but have a delayed onset of action compared to cortisone. However, they often have a more lasting effect. Vitamin D preparations are available as ointments and lotions for the body and scalp. The combination of calcipotriol with cortisone is particularly effective. The maximum quantities for weekly use must be observed, as vitamin D influences the calcium balance


Are two immunomodulating active ingredients that are approved for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Studies have shown that psoriasis on the face, body folds and intimate areas in particular can be expected to have a comparable effect to preparations containing cortisone. Due to the thinner skin in these areas, tracrolimus/pimecrolimus can also be used for longer periods.

Light therapy

Phototherapy is of great importance in the treatment of moderate and severe psoriasis. It is easy to use. Finally, it can be advantageously combined with external treatments (creams, solutions, ointments). Today, UVB lamps that emit 311 nm are mainly used. UV-A waves can also be highly effective in the treatment of psoriasis. In some cases, a combination with light-sensitizing substances (psoralen) is used, which increases the effectiveness.

System therapies

Internal treatment methods (systemic therapies). Internal or systemic therapies are also used for extensive or severe forms of psoriasis – especially if the joints are also affected. Their use requires certain prerequisites and, above all, careful consideration of the risk-benefit ratio by the experienced specialist. A distinction is made between traditional systemic therapies (methotrexate, acitretin, ciclosporin and fumaric acid esters) and the newer small molecules (apremilast) and biologics (adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, ustekinumab, secukinumab, ixekizumab, brodalumab, guselkumab and risankizumab).


Initially developed for the treatment of cancer, this substance also proved to be effective in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in significantly lower doses. It is effective in the treatment of both skin and joint psoriasis. Caution is advised in the case of liver disease, as the drug can cause long-term liver damage.


Is a drug used in transplantation medicine, where it is used to prevent the immune system from rejecting transplanted organs. It also has an excellent effect on psoriasis, especially on severe and highly inflammatory forms. The duration of use is limited by the risk of kidney damage from the drug.

Fumaric acid ester

Drug frequently used in Germany for the systemic treatment of plaque psoriasis. It has also just received approval in Switzerland. This class of substances is a by-product of the citrate cycle and has the advantage of a very safe efficacy profile, although it often manifests itself with annoying side effects at the start of therapy, such as flushing (seizure-like reddening of the face), headaches, nausea, diarrhea and temporary lymphopenia (reduction of certain white blood cells). However, if it is tolerated, it can be taken for decades and completely suppress psoriasis.


Is an oral medication that causes mild suppression of general inflammation. It requires only a few laboratory controls and is of medium potency. Apart from temporary nausea and diarrhea, it offers great safety.


This is a new generation of biotechnologically produced antibodies with a more specific mechanism of action against psoriatic inflammation. They are usually injected. There are currently TNF-alpha inhibitors (infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab) and an IL-12/23 inhibitor (ustekinmab) on the market for psoriasis, as well as the two highly effective IL-17 inhibitors secukinumab and ixekizumab. The most recently approved biologic is the IL-23 inhibitor guselkumab, which is also a very effective biologic. Other novel small molecules are currently being developed. Due to the high production costs, biologics are only reserved for psoriasis patients with a surface infestation of >10% or PASI 10 or more or in special, disabling localizations (e.g. palms of the hands and soles of the feet) where conventional therapies have failed.

Alternative treatment methods

As the possibilities of conventional medicine have their limits despite all the progress made, and effective medication also carries the risk of unwanted effects, there is a demand for alternative methods that are supposed to be free of side effects: There is no (or only very poor) scientific medical evidence to support the use of detoxification procedures, bioresonance, kinesiology (pendulum therapy) and other alternative therapies. In the case of psoriasis in particular, sufferers are often disappointed with such procedures in the long term.

Clinical Trials

If a new active substance could be safer and more effective than the available drugs, clinical trials are offered. We conduct many such studies, from which many hundreds of patients have benefited over the years. Ask your doctor if you are interested.

What does our clinic and psoriasis consultation offer you?

Depending on the location, severity and course of the psoriasis, you will find advice and treatment in our general outpatient clinic, psoriasis consultation, light department, day clinic or ward.

Outpatient therapy

If you suffer from mild psoriasis, the team of doctors at the dermatology outpatient clinic will offer you comprehensive advice and prescribe the right local therapy and skin care products for you as required. Patients who are eligible for systemic therapy or biologics are specially examined and advised in our psoriasis consultation hours on referral by a doctor.
The development of new treatment strategies also opens up further options, which we are happy to offer you as part of ongoing clinical studies.

Inpatient treatment

In the case of very severe psoriasis with high inflammatory activity, it may be advisable to treat patients as inpatients in the dermatology ward or weekly clinic.

Swiss Dermatology Network for Targeted Therapies

The Swiss Dermatology Network for Targeted Therapies is a network that documents the efficacy and safety of all approved systemic psoriasis therapies. In this way, the course of the disease can be recorded over a long period of time. Patients can register for participation at the start of a system therapy.


You should receive the best possible medical care at the University Hospital Zurich. This also means that we want to store the remains of biological material such as blood and tissue and use them in anonymized form for medical research. Please consider whether you agree to provide us with your samples for our biobank. This will not affect your medical treatment. They do not benefit directly, but all people benefit indirectly from medical research. The information brochure about our biobank provides you with further information.

Patient organization and interesting facts

Responsible physicians

Julia Tatjana Maul, PD Dr. med.

Attending Physician, Department of Dermatology

Tel. +41 44 255 11 11
Specialties: General dermatology, Immunodermatology, Clinical studies and dermato-oncology

For patients

Send a photo of the affected skin area and fill out the short questionnaire. Within 24 hours on weekdays, you will receive a reliable diagnosis from our experts. Your data will be transmitted to us encrypted and treated confidentially.

To the online consultation

For referrer

Simply assign your patient online.

Tel. +41 44 255 31 55
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Responsible Department

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