Rebecca Campen, M.D., J.D. is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School. She divides her time between clinical practice of dermatology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and private practice in Savannah, Ga.
What over-the-counter medications or home treatments could be used for psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes skin to become scaly and inflamed. It affects approximately 2% of all people.
A person with psoriasis may have only a few areas of affected skin or many areas. For mild cases, some over-the-counter products may be helpful, but in most cases, prescription drugs are necessary for best results. It is important to see a doctor for evaluation and treatment.
Over-the-counter products that may be helpful include mild, unscented soaps for bathing, unscented lotions to apply after bathing, and 1% hydrocortisone cream to apply to the areas affected. Tar shampoos can be helpful in controlling scalp psoriasis. Short periods of sun exposure on the involved areas may also be helpful, but avoid getting sunburn, which can worsen psoriasis. Also, remember the increased risk of skin cancer with sun exposure.