There is no cure for psoriasis, but some over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can relieve itching, dander, or
OTC products are often sold online or in stores without a doctor’s prescription. They come in different formulations, such as:
- bath solutions
In this article, we take a look at the most commonly used over-the-counter products for psoriasis and how they work to help relieve symptoms.
Over-the-counter topicals containing salicylic acid, an exfoliating agent, are commonly used to treat symptoms of psoriasis. This ingredient has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of psoriasis. It works by causing the outer layer of the skin to peel off, which helps reduce flaking and swelling.
It is important to use salicylic acid as directed, as too much acid can cause irritation and make your condition worse.
Tar is another ingredient approved by the FDA to treat psoriasis. It comes from charcoal and wood and can slow the growth of skin cells. Many people report smoother skin with less flaking, itching, and inflammation.
Coal tar products can irritate your skin and make it more sensitive to the sun. You should use sunscreen when you are outside. Additionally, some studies have shown that very high amounts of coal tar, such as those used in industrial paving, are linked to cancer. You may want to talk to your doctor about this risk.
Keeping your skin hydrated and hydrated can help relieve redness and itching. Thick creams or ointments that trap water are preferred. They relieve dryness and help your skin heal.
You can even use shortening or coconut oil to keep your skin lubricated.
Some over-the-counter bath products help remove dander and soothe irritated skin. To create your own solution, add one of the following to your bath:
Try to soak for about 15 minutes.
OTC scale lifters, also known as keratolytics, typically contain ingredients such as:
Products containing these ingredients help loosen and remove dander, which allows drugs to reach psoriasis plaques. It may be helpful to take a 15-minute hot bath before using a scale lifter.
Occlusion refers to covering the skin so that it can better absorb topical medications or moisturizers. You can cover the area with:
- Plastic wrap
- waterproof dressings
- cotton socks
- a nylon suit
Talk to your doctor about this method before using it. It is important to know which topical treatments can be used safely under skin.
Over-the-counter anti-itch products may contain the following ingredients:
These medications can help relieve itching caused by psoriasis, but they can also irritate and dry out your skin.
Other over-the-counter treatments that can soothe your skin and relieve itching may include the following:
Although some of these ingredients have not been proven to work, many people with psoriasis report relief anecdotally.
Some over-the-counter treatments can irritate or dry out your skin. You can use moisturizer with them to counter this effect.
It may also be helpful to test the products on a small area of the skin first to see how you respond to the treatment. Some topical medications can be applied over moisturizer to minimize side effects.
Treatments containing coal tar can stain clothing or bed linens, so you may want to protect these items with a towel or other barrier.
It is also important to know that the concentration of ingredients can vary by brand and product. As a rule, the higher the concentration, the more potent the drug.
Several over-the-counter products are available to help treat the symptoms of psoriasis. Although many of them offer relief, it is best to consult a doctor before using any new treatment for your condition.
If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication that may better relieve your symptoms.