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:
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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.
How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis At Home
Its important to note that home remedies can help ease symptoms but theyre not proven cures. The following home treatments are generally safe and may help you reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate scalp psoriasis. Those with more aggressive forms of the condition should consult a doctor before starting home treatment.
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Psoriasis Natural Treatment Coconut Oil
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Things To Know About Using Coal Tar For Psoriasis
Coal tar products are available in various strengths and forms, including lotions, shampoos, and creams. These products are approved by the US FDA at strengths of between 0.5% and 5% coal tar. Some patients have a better response in their symptoms with lower strengths of the product2. Brand names for coal tar products include Neutrogena T/Gel and Psoriasin.
Using coal tar can cause side effects on the skin such as irritation, reddening, and dryness. Applying it on top of a layer of moisturizer can help to reduce those effects.
Coal tar can also make your skin more likely to sunburn, so it is important to use sunscreen and avoid the sun if possible unless directed otherwise by a doctor. Some patients dislike coal tar products because they have a strong smell and they can stain clothing, towels, sheets, and even light-colored hair3.
There are also combination topical treatments available that combine coal tar with salicylic acid, such as X-Seb T Plus, Pazol XS, and SLT.
How Do You Know If You Need Treatment
Do I have psoriasis symptoms? you cant say for sure that you have psoriasis just from looking. If you do get the typical patches of scaly skin and youre experiencing symptoms of psoriasis then you might need treatment. However, there are lots of other health conditions that might give you similar symptoms so you cant know for sure.
How do I get a diagnosis? in order to get diagnosed with chronic plaque psoriasis, or any other type of psoriasis, you will need to see a doctor. Your doctor will examine you and give you a diagnosis.
Do you need treatment all the time? when you have psoriasis, you will be unlikely to have symptoms all the time. Psoriasis symptoms may come and go and these may be referred to as flare ups. How often you get flare ups may vary from person to person. Flare ups can happen in response to triggers which are situations that cause your symptoms to happen. These can be things such as high levels of stress or cold weather.
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When To Change Things Up
Many topical treatments can bother your skin. So over time, your doctor may suggest that you switch to different types of creams. You may also use them along with other kinds of treatments, like or medications you take by mouth or with shots.
And don’t be surprised if something that was working stops — or something thatâs never helped before starts to do some good. Let your doctor know what makes a difference and what doesnât. Together, you can find the treatment that’s right for you.
Before using topical treatments, make sure you understand the directions and the side effects they can cause. And stick with your treatment plan once you start. If you don’t use your medication regularly, your psoriasis could get worse.
Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate director of dermatopharmacology, department of dermatology, New York University School of Medicine co-director, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center consultant for Amgen, Biogen, Genentech, Fujisawa, and 3M.
Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director of the Clinical Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons consultant for Amgen and Genentech.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
American Academy of Dermatology.
Other Topical Agents For Psoriasis
Tree Bark Extracts
Anthralin is a synthetic form of a tree bark extract that is considered to be one of the most effective topical antipsoriatic agents available. However, it can cause skin irritation and staining of clothing and skin.
- How tree bark extract works: This medicine slows the production of excess skin cells.
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals with anthralin allergy or recent or excessively swollen patches should not use anthralin.
- Use: Apply a small amount of the cream, ointment, or paste to the patches on the skin. On the scalp, remove scales and rub into affected areas. Avoid the forehead, eyes, and any skin that does not have patches. Do not apply excessive quantities. Short applications of a high concentration for only 20 minutes, followed by washing with soap and water can be used to minimize skin irritation.
- Drug or food interactions: Anthralin is combined with salicylic acid in preparations used for psoriasis treatment.
- Adverse effects: Anthralin stains clothing or linens purple or brown. Use with caution if the individual has kidney disease. Care must be taken to apply this medication only to psoriasis patches and not to surrounding normal skin. Anthralin may cause skin discoloration and may burn or irritate skin. Do not use on the face, neck, skin folds , or genitals. Avoid contact with the eyes. Do not use on excessively irritated patches. This medication should only be used if the patient can comply with instructions for use.
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Best Over The Counter Topical Psoriasis Treatment
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Topical treatments work best on mild and smaller areas of psoriasis.
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It may be used in combination with other acne treatments.
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Topical Treatments For Psoriasis:
Some creams and lotions that can ease the dryness and itch are available over the counter with others, youll need a prescription from a doctor. It takes a bit of trial and error to find what topical treatment may work best for you. Here, some guidance to the most common types of creams and lotions for psoriasis.
This is the active ingredient in treatments that can help banish scales by softening them and making the outer layer of skin shed. You can find salicylic acid in many forms . These treatments are designed to work in combo with others, because getting rid of the scales can help other treatments do their work more efficiently. If its a strong version, salicylic acid can irritate the skin and make hair more likely to break off, and that can lead to temporary hair loss, says the NPF.
The NPF advises not to use a topical steroid for longer than three weeks without consulting a doctor, as well as to avoid stopping the use of one suddenly because that can cause a flare-up of your psoriasis. Another reason to use these under the care of a physician: Topical steroids can be absorbed via the skin and have an impact on internal organs when used for a long period of time or over a wide area of skin.
Vitamin D3 treatments
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While urea may not be one of the FDA-approved psoriasis ingredients, Birnbaum says its still a good choice: Moisturizers that include urea are very beneficial for psoriasis as they exfoliate while enhancing the barrier of the skin. This is one of her favorites, and we especially like it for slathering onto the chest, stomach, and back, areas where you definitely dont want any kind of lingering greasy residue.
Another pick with urea, grab this the next time youre at the drugstore and slather it on from head to toe. Along with the smoothing, exfoliating benefits of the urea, its also super hydrating, not to mention, fragrance-, dye-, and paraben-free, all important qualities to seek out in a product when you have psoriasis.
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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Topical Medications For Psoriasis
Clobetasol , triamcinolone , fluocinolone , and betamethasone are examples of commonly prescribed corticosteroids.
- How corticosteroids work: Corticosteroids decrease skin inflammation and itching.
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals with corticosteroid allergy or skin infections should not use corticosteroids.
- Use: Apply a thin film to affected skin areas. These creams or ointments are usually applied two times a day, but dosage depends on severity of the psoriasis.
- Drug or food interactions: No interactions have been reported with topical use.
- Adverse effects: Corticosteroids may cause adverse effects to the body if used over large areas. They can also cause local thinning of the skin. Do not use for long periods of time. It is best not to put bandages over the treated skin unless directed by the physician because too much of the medicine may be absorbed into the body.
Creams and Ointments Related to Vitamin D
Calcipotriene is a relative of vitamin D-3 that is used to treat moderate psoriasis.
- How vitamin D medications work: Calcipotriene slows the production of excess skin cells.
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals with the following conditions should not take calcipotriene:
- Allergy to calcipotriene cream
- Vitamin D toxicity
Ways To Avoid Irritating Genital Psoriasis
To get the best results from treatment and avoid flares, you want to avoid irritating genital psoriasis. The following can help you do just that:
When treating genital psoriasis, use the treatment that your dermatologist prescribed for this area. Psoriasis treatment that youre using on another part of your body can be harmful in the genital area. Tazarotene can irritate the area, making genital psoriasis worse. Any type of phototherapy can increase your risk of developing genital cancer. Strong coal tar therapy may also increase the risk of genital cancer.
Tell your dermatologist if the treatment irritates any skin in your genital area.
Use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser. When bathing, you want to avoid deodorant or antibacterial soaps and body washes. These can irritate the delicate skin, causing genital psoriasis to flare.
Moisturize. Gently applying a fragrance-free moisturizer to the psoriasis after bathing and when the area feels dry can reduce chaffing and irritation.
Use quality toilet paper. This can help reduce irritation.
Avoid getting urine or feces on genital psoriasis. These can cause psoriasis to flare.
Wear loose-fitting underwear and clothing. Tight-fitting clothing can cause friction, which can worsen genital psoriasis.
Get plenty of fiber in your diet. Eating a high-fiber diet or taking a fiber supplement will ease bowel movements.
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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.
Other Systemic Agents For Psoriasis
Antimetabolites, Immunosuppressives, and Biologic Response Modifiers
These agents are potent drugs given by mouth or injection. They block inflammation and have effects on the immune system. The effect on skin is probably secondary to the effect on white blood cells.
Adalimumab , etanercept , infliximab , ustekinumab , secukinumab , ixekizumab , methotrexate , cyclosporine , and apremilast are in this group of systemic drugs. They may be prescribed for moderate to severe psoriasis.
How these drugs work: These medications can block inflammation. They are used to treat people with severe disabling psoriasis who have not responded to or tolerated other treatments.
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