Before looking into systemic therapies which include taking various medications orally or through an injection, many psoriasis sufferers looking for conventional treatment options may want to start with topical treatments for psoriasis. Here is a listing of the best psoriasis treatments meant for topical application.
The following topical treatments can either be used alone for mild psoriasis flare-ups or in combination with other therapies such as light therapy for psoriasis or even systemic therapies if the psoriasis flare-ups are moderate to severe.
Topical therapies used alone can be quite effective for psoriasis patients with mild cases of this disease but may be ineffective against severe cases of this chronic skin condition. For severe cases, various treatment methods used at the same time may be more beneficial for producing the healing you seek.
Topical medications come in the form of lotions, gels, creams, ointments and aerosols to be applied directly to the skin lesions. Do follow your doctor’s instructions on how much topical medication to use.
If you are not using a good moisturizer yet, you need to find one. While this is not a treatment, it is the first step in combating psoriasis as it helps to prevent dry and flaky skin by creating a surface barrier on the skin. Good moisturizers can definitely be beneficial for preventing mild cases of psoriasis and even for severe psoriasis flare-ups, a good moisturizer can be beneficial.
2. Coal Tar
Which psoriasis sufferer has not heard of coal tar for psoriasis? Wood, distilled, shale and coal tar are the different varieties of coal tar that can be used for topical psoriasis treatments.
Tar can be very smelly, messy as well as being irritating on the areas applied which is why it is not a favorite topical treatment method for psoriasis despite being effective. Coal tar can also increase sensitivity to the sun (photosensitivity) while also staining clothing, white hair, bedding, etc, so you need to exercise care when using coal tar.
This is derived from vitamin A and comes in a cream or gel and can help reduce the thickness and scales of psoriasis lesions. Tazarotene like most vitamin A derivatives increases sensitivity to the sun so sunscreen is important if going out into the sun even if you apply the treatment at night. Tazarotene is ineffective at reducing redness and is not recommended for pregnant women. Many patients who use this topical treatment for psoriasis reported experiencing a great deal of irritation on the areas of application. This severe irritation may be reduced when this topical treatment is combined with topical steroids which are discussed below.
4. Topical Steroids
Topical steroids have been beneficial for psoriasis sufferers because they help to reduce inflammation which is at the root of psoriasis flare-ups. Some may even reduce the itch associated with the skin lesions as well as the thickness of the lesions. Topical steroids unlike many other topical treatments do not take a long time to work.
While effective, topical steroids do have various risk factors especially if highly potent steroid formulations are used or if the steroids are used for a long time. When treatment is stopped, the flare-ups will usually return.
This is also a messy topical treatment that can stain clothing, skin and hair but can be effective. Anthralin is also anti-inflammatory and can decrease the rapid cell turnover associated with psoriasis. But Anthralin can also be irritating on the skin. Because of this mess and staining potential, this topical treatment is not as popular as it was in the past.
6. Vitamins D Analogue
Commonly found in the medication Calcipotriol (Dovonex, etc), this is a derivative of vitamin D and is beneficial for psoriasis sufferers because it is anti-inflammatory as well as being able to reduce the rapid cell turnover, but unlike steroids, it is slow to work and may be irritating to certain areas of the skin.
These are just a few of the best psoriasis treatments applied topically. The main drawback for all of them is that once treatment is stopped, the psoriasis flare-ups will return with a vengeance, so looking into other treatment methods especially holistic therapies which seek to get to the root of this condition to treat and prevent flare-ups may be something that you need to seriously consider if you want permanent relief. Click here to find out more.