Topical Treatments Commonly Used For Psoriasis
Most people with psoriasis usually start with ensuring that they keep the skin moisturized to prevent it drying out and leading to psoriasis flare-ups. Using moisturizer liberally is possibly one of the best home remedies for psoriasis. It is definitely the easiest and least expensive way to control psoriasis. Using a moisturizer that contains an ingredient such as salicylic acid may also help to not only moisturize the skin but to remove the scales that are associated with psoriasis flare-ups.
As mentioned, consistent use of moisturizer is one of the best home remedies for psoriasis and a sufferer should try to apply it to slightly damp skin immediately after a bath or shower to help lock in the moisture on the skin.
2. Coal Tars and Anthralin
These are probably the oldest methods for treating psoriasis symptoms and a generally effective. Shampoos that contain tar are quite effective at treating scalp psoriasis and are generally available over the counter.
Some products containing tar may only be obtained with a prescription such as crude coal bars in up to a 2% ointment base. They are quite messy and may stain in addition to having a strong odor which is why they are mainly used in medical centers.
Refined tar in preparations such as liquor carbonis detergent can be added to various body and scalp ointments and lotions to treat the symptoms of psoriasis.
Anthralin is usually used for treating patches of psoriasis that are isolated. It does stain the skin and clothing and its application may be tedious but can still be used in the comfort of your home. It is also used in combination with light therapy for psoriasis for greater results.
Topical corticosteroids are excellent for psoriasis treatment because they help to slow the rate at which skin cells turnover as well as reduce skin inflammation. Sufferers usually use topical steroids at different strengths and they come in the form of lotions, gels, creams, foams, sprays, tape, ointments, etc. Topical steroids are not only effective but easy to use and greatly help the skin to look better which builds confidence in the sufferer.
Another way to apply topical steroids is by a doctor injecting low concentrations directly into the lesions.
The good results from topical corticosteroids do not last for very long however unless a high potency steroid is used. A high potency steroid can only be used on limited skin areas for a short period of time otherwise it could lead to various side effects such as thinning skin and stretch marks. Excessive use can also make psoriasis worse.
When you decide to stop using topical corticosteroids, it is important to not stop cold turkey. Slowly wean yourself off the steroids to prevent making lesions worse if you abruptly stop.
Vitamin A has been used for a long time to treat various skin problems from acne to wrinkles and fine lines. Consuming Vitamin A supplements on the other hand has resulted in sometimes fatal results or other health problems in some people. In order to effectively use the vitamin A without the negative side effects, synthetic topical forms were developed that are safe to use.
Tazorac is one such form and frequently used to treat the symptoms of psoriasis and requires one daily application only and can help to prevent psoriasis flare-ups in many patients for up to twelve weeks or longer.
Available in two strengths, Tazorac dries quickly, does not have an odor and does not stain skin or clothing. It effectively slows down the growth rate of the skin cells associated with psoriasis flare-ups in most patients. It is powerful enough to be used to treat tough types of psoriasis such as scalp psoriasis and psoriasis that affects the nails.
It can be effectively used in combination with other medications such as light therapy for psoriasis and high potency steroids for even better results.
The main side effect associated with its use is that is can cause skin irritation in some patients enough to stop treatment. Avoiding skin irritation can be done by using very small amounts and applying it correctly. Only small amounts are needed anyway. It is also not recommended for delicate areas of the skin such as the genitals or skin around the eyes.
While on the treatment, sun exposure is usually discouraged as it can increase the risk of having severe sunburn. It is also quite drying so applying a moisturizer first before the treatment and allowing it to dry is recommended.