Great expectations? It pays to give your topical treatment a fair chance

Simple tips for tracking progress


When you start using your psoriasis treatment, it’s common to want it to work straight away. And it can be frustrating if this doesn’t happen, as it may take a few weeks before you start to see the effects of some psoriasis treatments. Unfortunately this delay might make some people mistakenly believe that their treatment isn’t working and so they stop using it.

Remember that everyone is different and some people take longer to respond to treatments than others and that any early changes may be too small for you to notice immediately.

Spot the difference

To help you judge the benefits properly, try to spot and record any small changes in the way your skin looks and feels.

Rather than relying on sight alone, closing your eyes and touching your psoriasis might help – if you can feel a reduction in thickness and roughness, you’ll know the treatment is working.

To help you judge the benefits objectively, try to spot and record any small changes in the way your skin looks and feels.

Keep a record

Many people find that keeping a diary helps. You can make a note of what your day was like, how you were feeling and note any flare ups – this can help you identify triggers for your psoriasis and will help you notice improvements you might otherwise have missed.

Others find that something more visual, such as a photographic diary, can be even more useful. Take a photo of your lesions/plaques before starting a new treatment and save it. Take pictures regularly to see the progress. This will create a visual record of your condition and may allow you to more clearly see the benefits of your treatment.

Define your goals

Finally, it’s worth thinking about how you personally measure the success of your treatment. Some people may believe a treatment can only be considered successful if it results in clear skin, while others may consider fewer or less scaly plaques or less itch to be a great success.

Either way, it’s probably sensible to discuss your expectations with your doctor and pharmacist to see whether they are realistic. Be sure to use your treatment exactly as your doctor advises, otherwise it may not be as effective as you hope. And chart your progress accurately so that, next time, you can compare your expectations with any actual improvements in your condition – and then have an informed conversation about the next steps with your doctor.