What Is Psoriasis It’s More Than Skin Deep
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the cells of your skin are replaced at an unusually fast rate.
- Skin cells are quickly replaced every few days, instead of every 3 to 4 weeks.
- Due to this rapid turnover, extra skins cells cause raised silvery plaques that can be flaky, red, and itchy.
- Psoriasis tends to occur in adults most frequently, and the symptoms may come and go.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but advanced medications allow roughly 80% to 90% of patients to have successful treatment to lessen symptoms and improve the appearance of the plaques.
Best For Face: Abundant Natural Health Ocean Soothe Psoriasis Relief Lotion
Finding the best face lotion is not always easy, given how the surface can be more sensitive compared to other parts of the body. Abundant Natural Health Ocean Soothe Lotion is made with 100 percent all-natural ingredients to prevent any chemical irritants from further inflaming psoriasis patches.
The formula combines seawater with aloe vera and tea tree oil. The product works by using salt from seawater, which is mixed with cucumber extract, to exfoliate the dry skin patches along the surface. The aloe vera and tea tree oil then soothe the exfoliated skin and hydrate the surface to prevent new scales.
Buying Psoriasis Creams Over The Counter
You can readily buy emollients in a pharmacy, but medicated creams will typically require a conversation with the pharmacist or a prescription from your doctor.
Coal tar shampoos, including polytar shampoo, which are a treatment for scalp psoriasis, are usually available to buy without speaking to a pharmacist.
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Topical Medication For Psoriasis
NYU Langone dermatologists treat many people who have psoriasis with topical medication, which is applied to the affected areas of the skin. Some of these medications are available over the counter others require a prescription. Topical medications may reduce the size and number of lesions and alleviate symptoms such as itching, burning, and swelling.
Based on the appearance of your skin, your doctor determines if one or a combination of topical medications is right for you. Topical medication is usually most effective for people with mild to moderate psoriasis, meaning lesions cover less than 10 percent of their bodies. Our experts provide instructions on how much of the medication to apply and when.
If topical medication relieves your symptoms, your doctor may recommend you use it for years, as part of a long-term treatment plan. Throughout treatment, he or she monitors how well the medication is working during periodic follow-up visits. Your doctor also looks for any side effects, such as thinning skin at the site of application. If you have side effects, your doctor may adjust how often you apply the medication or prescribe a different type.
Topical medication may lead to dry skin, which can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms. Doctors often recommend using an over-the-counter moisturizer, as well.
Medicated Creams For Psoriasis
Another important variety of psoriasis cream is the topical medicated treatment. These are products recommended for people with psoriasis either by a pharmacist or a doctor. You will often need a prescription to use the kinds of treatments below as they can be very potent.
The ingredients most commonly found in medicated psoriasis creams are:
- Topical corticosteroids
- Coal tar
These ingredients primarily work by reducing skin cell production, however they can also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps to reduce soreness and itching.
Medicated psoriasis creams should be applied directly to affected areas when youre experiencing a flare-up of symptoms. They are suited to cases of mild or moderate psoriasis, and vary in potency.
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What Does Psoriasis Look Like
Psoriasis can occur on any area of the body, including hands, feet, elbows, scalp or genitals.
- In plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis, the skin tends to be dry, flaky, itchy, red and covered with white scales.
- Psoriasis can affect small areas of the body or be very widespread.
- For many people, psoriasis can lead to embarrassment, self-consciousness, or stress some people may require treatment for depression or anxiety.
- Family doctors, dermatologists, or rheumatologists may treat your psoriasis depending upon site and severity.
- See more pictures of psoriasis.
How A Dermatologist Can Help
With so many products, it can be difficult to know what to use. If you dont see the results you like with OTC treatment for psoriasis, you may want to see dermatologist. Dermatologists are the skin disease experts. They know how to tailor psoriasis treatment to the type of psoriasis you have. Sometimes, this requires combining treatments. You may also need one treatment plan to gain control over your psoriasis and another to maintain the results.
ReferencesMenter A, Korman NJ, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Section 3: Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 60:64359.
Paghdal KV, Schwartz RA. Coal tar: Back to the future. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Aug 61:294-302.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
The American Academy of Dermatology gratefully acknowledges the support from Amgen and .
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Is There More Than One Type Of Psoriasis Yes
There are many different types of psoriasis, and some may occur at the same time. Examples of different types of psoriasis include:
- Plaque Psoriasis: Most common form that causes raised, red skins areas that may be itchy or flaky.
- Guttate Psoriasis: May be a past history of streptococcal infection may occur in children or younger adults. Small plaques form on the midsection of the body.
- Pustular Psoriasis: Painful and severe form of psoriasis, with pus-filled sacs in the psoriasis plaques that can break. Fever may occur.
Types Of Psoriasis Continued
Examples of other types of psoriasis include:
- Inverse Psoriasis:: This psoriasis may affect skin fold areas such as the genital area, under the breast or arms, or around the groin area. The lesions are flat, red, and often without scales.
- Nail Psoriasis: Nails may become yellow-brown, pitted, flake away or detach from the nail bed.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: May occur in up to 30 percent of patients with psoriasis symptoms include swelling of the knees, ankles, hands and toe joints pain and may be accompanied by nail psoriasis.
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Steroid Creams Or Ointments
Steroid creams or ointments are commonly used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis in most areas of the body. The treatment works by reducing inflammation. This slows the production of skin cells and reduces itching.
Topical corticosteroids range in strength from mild to very strong. Only use them when recommended by your doctor.
Stronger topical corticosteroids can be prescribed by your doctor and should only be used on small areas of skin or on particularly thick patches. Overusing topical corticosteroids can lead to skin thinning.
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Heads Up: Anthralin For Scalp Psoriasis
Anthralin is a prescription topical cream or shampoo for the scalp that slows down the growth of skin cells.
- Anthralin, like coal tar, can be messy, stain fabrics, and has a strong odor.
- Anthralin can also stain the skin or hair with a temporary reddish brown color.
- Treatment may be applied for short periods to help lessen staining and irritation. Follow your healthcare providers instructions for use.
Like coal tar, anthralin may be used in combination with UV light to help with skin symptoms of psoriasis, including dryness, redness, flaking, scaling, and itching.
Other Options For Care
In addition to gentle psoriasis creams, there are other psoriasis treatments here at Walgreens.com that can help soothe your skin. Choose an ointment or gel that can seal in moisture to help heal. There are even bath treatments to calm redness, discomfort and irritation. You can find psoriasis care made with natural ingredients and many are made without any type of fragrance.
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Best Overall: Cerave Sa Lotion For Rough & Bumpy Skin
Our skin contains ceramides, which are waxy lipid molecules that naturally occur within our cells membranes and are believed to play a role in reviving the skins protective barrier. That is why experts recommend CeraVe SA Lotion, as its formulate incorporates three types of ceramides to help hydrate the skin.
The product also uses salicylic acida go-to ingredient to relieve psoriasis patchesas a chemical exfoliant to target dry skin. The lactic acid and the ceramides in the formula work to keep new skin exfoliated and hydrated. Besides all these benefits, the product is also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
Best Budget: Cortizone 10 Anti
Itchiness can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of psoriasis, making it hard for you to focus on your everyday life. Cortizone-10 Anti Itch Lotion specifically targets that symptom to provide long-lasting relief to irritated skin. Included in the product is maximum strength hydrocortisone, a leading ingredient in treating itchiness. The hydrocortisone is combined with seven different types of moisturizers and two vitamins to hydrate the skin while helping it heal.
Customers say the lotion is the holy grail of aiding their psoriasis because its non-drying, compared to other anti-itch creams on the market, and it relieves their red and irritated skin patches.
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Can Psoriasis Be Managed By Only Using Topical Treatments
You may find that what works for you today stops working for you a year from now. Topicals such as creams and ointments can be very effective for reducing or even eliminating symptoms. However, theyre not a cure.
Avoiding triggers can help make topical treatments more effective. In some instances, they may also be more beneficial when combined with prescribed medications and changes to your nutrition.
The First Line Of Therapy
Mild to moderate psoriasis is initially treated with a low to mid-potency corticosteroid cream, lotion, spray or ointment – such as:
Lower potency products, such as fluocinolone can be use on the face or other sensitive areas.
Lotions or foams are best for the scalp, creams are best for oozing lesions, and ointments can treat dry, raised, or scaly lesions.
Higher potency topicals are reserved for thicker, tough-to-treat areas like elbows or knees. Topical treatments work best on mild and smaller areas of psoriasis.
- betamethasone topical is a higher potency spray used in mild to moderate psoriasis.
- halobetasol propionate lotion 0.01% from Ortho Dermatologics is also a high-potency topical corticosteroid formulation.
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Otc Medicine For Psoriasis: What To Know
People with mild psoriasis may benefit from over-the-counter medicine, which they can get without a prescription. Some OTC medicines contain active ingredients, such as hydrocortisone or coal tar. OTC moisturizers may also benefit those with mild or severe psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic immune disorder that causes skin rashes, which can vary in color from red or violet to dark brown or gray. These rashes may be itchy or painful and may feature silvery scales.
This article explores OTC medicines and other products for treating and easing psoriasis symptoms. It also looks at the various types of psoriasis, including its causes, diagnosis, and treatments.
A doctor or dermatologist will decide how to treat psoriasis according to the severity and location of the affected area. Treatments for mild psoriasis may include OTC and nonprescription medicine people may benefit from the sole or combined use of these various options.
Complementary And Alternative Treatments
Youll find plenty of these for treating psoriasis. The US Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate these products. As such, few of these treatments have been studied. Those that have been studied were tested on small numbers of people, so we dont know how well these treatments work. We also dont know whether theyre safe.
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Topical Retinoids: Vitamin A Derivatives
Tazarotene is a vitamin A derivative that affects epidermal cell growth in psoriasis and exhibits some anti-inflammatory action. It is also available as a generic option.
- Tazarotene comes in a cream or gel and is used primarily for mild to moderate psoriasis. Tazorac is also approved for acne treatment.
- Other brands of tazarotene, approved for other uses, include Arazlo , Fabior and Avage
- In 2019, a combination of halobetasol, a topical corticosteroid, and tazarotene from Bausch Health was FDA-approved for plaque psoriasis.
Acitretin is an oral retinoid, also a form of vitamin A, that comes as a capsule .
- It is used for severe forms of psoriasis that do not respond to other treatments. Acitretin is not a cure for psoriasis, and your psoriasis may come back after you stop taking this medication.
- It is also available as a generic option.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings
Important: View the patient counseling information for Tazorac or Soriatane to learn more about the Contraindications and Warnings for Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding and discuss this information with your doctor.
In addition, you must NOT become pregnant while taking acitretin and for at least 3 YEARS after stopping acitretin, so that the drug can be eliminated to below a blood concentration that would be associated with an increased incidence of birth defects.
How Does Salicylic Acid Work To Treat Plaque Psoriasis
Salicylic acid works by helping the scaly outer layer of plaques to be shed from the skin. It can also have the effect of softening psoriasis scales, and some people find that it can also help to reduce itch2. It is available in many different forms, including:
A large number of products containing salicylic acid can be found in the United States. For many patients, salicylic acid is more effective when it is used in combination with other types of psoriasis treatments, such as topical corticosteroids and the prescription topical treatment tacrolimus. Researchers think that combination treatment is effective because the salicylic acid helps the other types of topical medicines to penetrate more deeply into the skin
If the salicylic acid preparation used to treat psoriasis symptoms is strong, it may irritate the skin if it is left on too long. Patients are usually advised not use salicylic acid on large areas of the skin because it can be absorbed into the body and cause side effects. Salicylic acid can also make ultraviolet less effective, so it is recommended not to use it before UVB phototherapy treatments.
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Psoralen Plus Ultraviolet A
For this treatment, you’ll first be given a tablet containing compounds called psoralens, or psoralen may be applied directly to the skin. This makes your skin more sensitive to light.
Your skin is then exposed to a wavelength of light called ultraviolet A . This light penetrates your skin more deeply than ultraviolet B light.
This treatment may be used if you have severe psoriasis that has not responded to other treatment.
Side effects include nausea, headaches, burning and itchiness. You may need to wear special glasses for 24 hours after taking the tablet to prevent the development of cataracts.
Long-term use of this treatment is not encouraged, as it can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Tablets Capsules And Injections
If your psoriasis is severe or other treatments have not worked, you may be prescribed systemic treatments by a specialist. Systemic treatments work throughout the entire body.
These medications can be very effective in treating psoriasis, but they all have potentially serious side effects. All the systemic treatments for psoriasis have benefits and risks. Before starting treatment, talk to your doctor about your treatment options and any risks associated with them.
If you’re planning for a baby, become pregnant or are thinking of breastfeeding, you should also speak to your doctor first before taking any new medicine to check it’s suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There are 2 main types of systemic treatment, called non-biological and biological .
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The Heartbreak: What Are The Causes Of Psoriasis
The exact causes of psoriasis are not fully known. Many researchers believe it is a combination of factors — including family history, a faulty immune system, and effects from the environment.
- In people with psoriasis, certain white blood cells that normally fight off infection instead attack healthy cells . It is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the U.S.
- New skins cells are formed too quickly and result in a layer of dead, scaly skin and white blood cells that remain on the top layer of skin instead of sloughing off.
- These patches of skin and lesions are known as psoriatic lesions or plaque psoriasis.
- Psoriasis can lead to feelings of embarrasment, self-consciousness, and worry.