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TREATING PSORIASIS: Why 12 Weeks is the Most Important Measure

What every psoriasis patient desperately wants to know is, 

"How LONG will it take for my psoriasis to heal?!"  

The itching, the red scaly patches and the embarrassment we feel about the condition of our skin makes us desperate to find that one psoriasis treatment that will make it all go away.

But as any psoriasis warrior knows, there is no magic bullet to treat this frustrating condition.

Why 12 Weeks is the Standard for Successfully Treating Psoriasis

The 12-week standard for psoriasis treatment guidelines was developed by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) in conjunction with experts in psoriatic conditions to manage patient expectations and encourage consistency of use for improving treatment outcomes. 

This is because anywhere between 40% and 50% of psoriasis patients report dissatisfaction with their current treatment, and this is often due to patient expectations about how fast something "should" work.

But treating to target is an evidence-based practice meant for patients and their healthcare providers to use as a roadmap. For psoriasis, a treatment has achieved an "acceptable response" if the incidence of psoriasis covers a body surface area (BSA), of three percent (3%) or less at 12 weeks.  A "target response" is achieved when a BSA of one percent (1%) or less - an area the size of your palm - is achieved.  

When managed diligently, treatment targets provide patients a goal and timeline to work towards and this has the added benefit of mitigating “treatment fatigue” in patients with long-term or difficult to resolve conditions like psoriasis.

What Happens in the First 12 Weeks of Psoriasis Treatment 

For both prescription and non-prescription treatments of psoriasis, a key consideration is the initial degree of inflammation at the start of treatment.  The underlying inflammation that is the root cause of a psoriatic flare must be brought under control for healing to really begin.

All treatment therapies have an initiation phase for onset of action i.e. when they start to work.

Then there is a maintenance phase where the treatment achieves a steady state of effectiveness for therapeutic benefits as you progress towards an acceptable response and then a target response.

And again, depending on the severity of the inflammation, the reality is that at 12 weeks what you're looking to determine is whether your chosen treatment is having any effect at all.  That's the difference between achieving an acceptable response and a target response.

Psoriasis Treatments Can Work Faster Than 12 weeks. . .Sometimes

In theory, you can see a response as early as four to six weeks. 

This is because everyone's immune make-up is different but consistency of treatment is critical.  A lapse in regular treatment is the second most important factor to consider when an acceptable response is not achieved at the 12-week target. If a patient is inconsistent in treating their psoriasis, the underlying inflammation resurges, and healing takes longer to achieve because the underlying inflammation must be brought back under control. 

How to Help Your Psoriasis Heal Faster

Treatment targets provide guidance on what to strive for but not the how of getting there and your chosen therapy is only one aspect of treatment.

A lifestyle change goes a long way in managing psoriasis.  There is excellent evidence that this condition responds very well to a diet consisting of anti-inflammatory foods as well as regular sleep and exercise to reduce stress because stress leads to chronic inflammation. 

Managing the condition holistically through a lifestyle change is also beneficial because oral therapies and biologic injectables require constant laboratory monitoring and can have adverse health effects if used long-term.

Even if your prescription medications are working, supplementing your psoriasis treatment with a soothing topical application is the ultimate  combined therapy

When it comes to over the counter (OTC) treatments for psoriasis, what you want is a product that treats each layer of the condition.  That means relieving the itch, softening the scaly patches and protecting your inflamed skin while it heals.  

Our product, Prosoria, is a once-daily, non-steroidal, non-prescription, topical treatment system for mild to moderate psoriasis that dresses all of these issues.  Additionally, in clinical trials and practical application, Prosoria has achieved both acceptable response and target response at rates comparable to prescription treatments.  And, because of the natural ingredients we use, Prosoria is a safe therapy that supports long-term results.

So, whatever psoriasis treatment you choose, give yourself 12 Weeks to see better skin.