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Plaque Psoriasis Treatment Over The Counter

Psoralen Plus Ultraviolet A

Over-the-counter Psoriasis Cream. Revitaderm Psoriasis Treatment found at over 7,600 CVS/pharmacies.

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.

What Is The New Pill For Psoriasis

The most recent developments in psoriasis medication tend to be related to injections and newer injectable treatments. A few new treatments have received FDA approval in 2017 and 2018 after completing clinical trials. However, two oral medications Otezla and Xeljanz have recently become available as oral treatments for psoriasis. Otezla is recommended by doctors and dermatologists for plaque psoriasis whereas Xeljanz is typically being recommended for psoriatic arthritis.

How Do Dermatologists Treat Plaque Psoriasis

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, Adam Friedman, MD, professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, says there is almost always a treatment option that can help.

If, after seeking treatment, you’re still experiencing symptoms and flare-ups of your moderate-to-severe psoriasis, but your doctor isn’t offering you another option, that should be a warning sign to you, says Dr. Friedman. “We know under-treatment is a problem,” he tells Health.

Here are three categories of treatment that dermatologists commonly recommend, plus several non-traditional remedies that experts say may be worth a try. Your doctor may use one, or a combination of the following, to bring you relief.

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Treatments For Psoriasis: Where Do I Begin

There are many different treatments for psoriasis, and what you use may differ depending upon severity, previous treatments, psoriasis type and what your preferences are, including costs.

Treatment can lessen the formation of the excessive skin cells and help to return your skin to a smoother appearance.

Treatments may include:

  • prescription drugs that may be taken by mouth
  • injectable medications can be used by the patient at home or given in the doctor’s office.

How Does Salicylic Acid Work To Treat Plaque Psoriasis

Steroid Creams For 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:

  • lotions
  • soaps
  • shampoos

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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Treatment: Where To Start

The most common treatments for mild cases are medications that you put directly on your scalp. If you have a more severe case or have psoriasis elsewhere on your body, you may need a medication that treats your whole body. You can take these medications by mouth or injection.

If your psoriasis doesn’t respond well after repeated use of one medication, your doctor may replace or combine it with another type of treatment.

One of the first steps is to soften and remove scales. This makes it easier for medications to do their job.

  • Apply over-the-counter products to your scalp to help soften scales and make them easier to peel off. Look for products with the active ingredients salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea, zinc pyrithione, or selenium sulfide.
  • Gently loosen the scales with a brush or fine-toothed comb.
  • Shampoo your scalp to remove the scales, using a salicylic acid shampoo or soap.
  • Apply thick creams to your scalp while it’s still damp to hold in the moisture.

To apply medication:

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.

ImagesGetty Images

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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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 .

Factors Which Influence Topical Therapy

Over-the-counter || Psoriasis Treatment

Patient factors

Treatment regimens must be individualized according to the patient’s age, sex, occupation, understanding, and the available resources.

Disease factors

Treatment also depends on the site of the lesions and their extent and severity. Assessment of severity should include the patient’s own perception of disability, the need for treatment, and an objective assessment of extent and severity.


The choice of vehicle can significantly alter the use and penetration of medications, and hence the therapeutic effect. There is a vast array of vehicles including creams, gels, solutions, foams, sprays, shampoos, and lotions. Different vehicles are indicated for different body sites. Scalp is commonly involved in psoriasis and requires gel, solutions, or foams that are not as messy as ointments and creams. Elsewhere, patients may prefer a less greasy preparation such as a cream during the daytime, and an ointment which is more effective but less cosmetically appealing at night.


Occlusive therapy, in which the skin is covered, often with a plastic membrane, enhances the penetration of topical agents such as corticosteroids. The occlusive dressings trap heat and moisture, hydrating and macerating the skin and forcing the medication through the plaques.

Combination therapy

All patients on topical therapy should be examined regularly to look for the development of side effects at the earliest.

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Methotrexate : A Longer

Methotrexate , is a folic acid antagonist, meaning it blocks the action of folic acid. Methotrexate is often abbreviated “MTX”.

  • Methotrexate comes as a once-weekly oral tablet or injection that suppresses the immune system and DNA synthesis to slow down skin cell turnover.
  • MTX can be used long-term for moderate to severe psoriasis and for psoriatic arthritis, but results with MTX may not be seen for several months. Review MTX dosing here.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe folic acid in addition to MTX to help lessen stomach and other side effects.
  • MTX can be toxic to the liver and other organs lab monitoring will be needed.

MTX should NOT be used in women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy men should also stop its use 3 months before conception. Use effective contraception during and after treatment with methotrexate.

  • Effective birth control is recommended for females of reproductive potential during therapy and for at least 6 months after the final dose.
  • Effective contraception is recommended for males with female partners of reproductive potential during therapy and for at least 3 months after the final dose of methotrexate.

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.

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Treatments For Plaque Psoriasis

Over The Counter Psoriasis Scalp Treatment

There are a variety of plaque psoriasis treatments. Some people use over-the-counter products, while others get one or more treatments prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist. These include:

Topicals work on the skin surface and are often the first treatment when someone is diagnosed. They can come in gels, ointments or creams that are prescribed by your doctor or bought over the counter.

Oral treatments are medicines you take by mouth. They work within the body by suppressing all or part of the immune system.

Biologics target specific parts of the immune system. They attach to proteins involved with inflammation. Biologics work within the body and theyre typically given by injection.

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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.

Ingredients In Otc Products

Some OTC medications may include active ingredients such as coal tar and mild corticosteroids. We explore more details about these products and their main ingredients below.

Coal tar

Manufacturers include coal tar in OTC and prescription products for psoriasis, including creams, shampoos, ointments, and bath solutions. Doctors and dermatologists have recommended it as a beneficial treatment for psoriasis for years, which can help:

  • reduce swelling, scaling, and redness
  • reduce itching and flaking
  • slow overproduction of skin cells

Mild corticosteroids

Corticosteroids may help reduce inflammation and itching. A person can buy solutions, ointments, and creams containing mild corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, without a prescription. Hydrocortisone is effective in treating a few small patches of psoriasis, although individuals with more severe symptoms will probably need a prescription corticosteroid.


These products may help with skin healing and relieve skin dryness. Some moisturizers may partially seal water onto the skin, helping people with mild or severe psoriasis. Dermatologists recommend applying moisturizer once a day, or more often in cases of very dry skin. People should choose a heavy, fragrance-free ointment or cream instead of lotion.

Scale softeners

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Psoriasis On The Neck

While it is natural to want a treatment that is going to eliminate the symptoms of psoriasis, you can access a whole range of over the counter medicines and foodsthat you take orally to help reduce the symptoms. By proactive behavior, you can reduce the amount of extra skin cells that your body produces as well as stopping some of the inflammation. Some oral treatments to try include:

  • Oils Most oils, such as omega-3, will help to reduce the amount of toxins in your blood stream. These toxins can cause infections as well as stimulating cell growth, which causes large amounts of plaque in psoriasis sufferers. You can buy oil in tablet or capsule form, or eat more low-fat dairy products that are high in omega-3.
  • Apple cider vinegar All purpose apple cider vinegar is used as both a rub or a food additive. If you apply it like a cream, you will need to be careful not to put too much on as it is quite acidic and while it will remove a lot of the extra skin cells, it can damage the unaffected areas nearby. As an oral medicine, apple cider vinegar can restore the balance of pH in your skin, which will help the natural sloughing process to cope with the extra cells.
  • Capsaicin You will find capsaicin in peppers and is the active ingredient that makes them taste hot. It acts as an anesthetic on your nerve endings, which reduce the itching caused by psoriasis.

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How Do You Get Plaque Psoriasis

The aetiology of psoriasis is incredibly complex, and develops due to a combination of immune, genetic and environmental factors.

In plaque psoriasis, a fault in the immune system causes the body to attack otherwise healthy skin cells. A hyperactive immune system causes the top layer of skin to multiply rapidly. As skin cells proliferate and fail to shed from the surface, raised plaques form. They are red in colour due to the dilated blood vessels supplying the top layer of skin and are covered with layers or white, dead skin cells.

Psoriasis is not contagious. That is – you cannot get it from contact with someone who has psoriasis. However, there is a large genetic component. This means that if a family member has psoriasis, you are at a greater risk of developing it . There is no genetic test that can tell you whether you will develop plaque psoriasis.

There is also an environmental and behavioural component to developing plaque psoriasis. You may find certain triggers such as stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications, or infections may trigger a flare-up.

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