Psoriasis is a chronic, disabling disease in which adherence to treatment is often poor. The aim of this article is to highlight the problem of adherence to long-term treatment in psoriasis and the factors that contribute to it, and to discuss how adherence, and thus outcomes, can be improved. This article is based on a presentation given by the authors at a satellite symposium held during the 19th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 6–10 October, 2010, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Adherence to topical medication is a major problem in psoriasis. Not only are prescriptions not being filled by patients (primary adherence) but topical medications are not being used as recommended (secondary adherence). The issue is complex due to the many factors which affect adherence, including efficacy, ease of use and convenience of application, and the healthcare professional–patient relationship. Due to the nature of the disease, patients suffer poor self-image and feel stigmatized, particularly when psoriasis is present on a visible part of the body. Consequently, the negative impact of psoriasis on patient quality of life underlies many adherence issues. It is therefore important for treatment to address the psychological aspects as well as the physical symptoms of psoriasis. Improvements in several areas of disease management may lead to benefits in medication adherence and hence clinical benefit. Prescribing therapy in line with patient preference for treatment vehicle and improving the healthcare professional–patient relationship may be key factors. Nurses have an important role in educating patients and delivering long-term care. This individualized, personal, approach may help improve treatment adherence, outcomes, and the quality of life for patients with psoriasis.