Topical Treatments

Just found out you have psoriasis? Or simply dealing with a mild problem? Then it’s likely your dermatologist will start you on a topical treatment (applied to the skin), such as a medicated lotion, ointment, cream, gel or shampoo. You can buy some over the counter, but most require a prescription. Tip: Start small: If your doctor prescribes a topical treatment you haven’t tried before, apply it to only a small patch of skin for the first few days—that way you can test its effectiveness and your response.

Medication How they work
What you should know
Corticosteroids
(Anti-inflammatory agent)
Suppress the immune system, reducing itching and inflammation; slow turnover of skin cells. Long-term use can cause thinning of skin and resistance to benefits.
Calcipotriene (multiple brands) and calcitriol (Vectical) (vitamin D and derivatives) Slow the growth of skin cells. Can cause mild stinging or burning.
Retinoids
(Synthetic vitamin A)
Normalize DNA activity in the cells. Can be irritating to skin; increase sensitivity to the sun.
Coal tar
(Thick liquid obtained from the distillation of coal)
Help slow the rapid growth of skin cells; reduce scaling, itching and inflammation. Has a strong odor; can stain skin and clothing.
Anthralin
(Synthetic chrysarobin, from araroba tree bark)
Thought to normalize DNA activity in skin cells; reduces rapid buildup of skin cells. Can be irritating to skin; can stain skin and clothing.
 
Published August 2011

Basics
Overview
Causes & Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Your Healthcare Team
Questions to Ask
    Your Doctor

Quiz: How Severe
    is Your Psoriasis?


Treatments
Never Tried a Biologic?
What Your Dermatologist
    Needs to Know

Topical Treatments
Phototherapy Treatments

Body-Wide Medications
When Your Treatment is Denied
    by Your Insurance Company


Features
Look Your Best With Psoriasis!
Feel Your Best With Psoriasis
Your Answer to Smoother, Clearer Skin—Found!
Take Charge of Your Psoriasis and Protect
    Your Whole Body!

Try These Simple Skin-Care Tips
Quiz: Test Your Psoriasis Smarts
Simple Ways to Better Your Life
Ask the Experts: Dating Tips and More
Let Summer Soothe Your Psoriasis
Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Ease Psoriasis

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