Psoralen photochemotherapy [psoralen ultraviolet A (PUVA)] plays an important part in dermatological therapeutics, being an effective and generally safe treatment for psoriasis and other dermatoses. In order to maintain optimal efficacy and safety, guidelines concerning best practice should be available to operators and supervisors. The British Photodermatology Group (BPC) have previously published recommendations on PUVA, including UVA dosimetry and calibration, patient pretreatment assessment, indications and contraindications, and the management of adverse reactions. While most current knowledge relates to oral PUVA, the use of topical PUVA regimens is also popular and presents a number of questions peculiar to this modality, including the choice of psoralen, formulation, method of application, optimal timing of treatment, UVA regimens and relative benefits or risks as compared with oral PUVA. Bath PUVA, i.e. generalized immersion, is the most frequently used modality of topical treatment, practised by about 100 centres in the U.K., while other topical preparations tend to be used for localized diseases such as those affecting the hands and feet. This paper is the product of a recent workshop of the BPC and includes guidelines for bath, local immersion and other topical PUVA. These recommendations are based, where possible, on the results of controlled studies, or otherwise on the consensus view on current practice.