What is Psoriasis Cream?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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Psoriasis cream can refer to a number of topical treatments used to address the symptoms of psoriasis. These creams, which are more typically ointments and not cream-based, can be broken into two main categories: prescription creams and over the counter medicines. Depending upon the degree of severity, people may use prescription creams mostly, but it’s also recommended that most people use moisturizer on a daily basis too. It’s also important to understand that severe psoriasis is not only treated with psoriasis cream but may require other treatments and oral medication.

The various psoriasis cream types that are prescribed include medications used to treat inflammation like corticosteroids. There are low, over the counter strength versions of corticosteroids too. High or low strength corticosteroid ointments usually aren’t used on a long-term basis because of potential side effects, but may be employed to help bring a particularly bad episode of psoriasis under control.

Some psoriasis creams are derived from Vitamin A and include medications that have retinol. Another medication that was developed especially for this condition is tazarotene. Some people find various forms of retinol and tazarotene are very effective, while others get extremely irritated skin from them.


Other prescription psoriasis cream types include those with coal tar, and ointments containing anthralin. Calcineurin inhibitors may have some positive effect on psoriasis/ Anthralin and coal tar create significant staining and may be avoided by some, and calcineurin inhibitors have side effects and particularly increase risk of certain forms of cancers. However, when used for short term, these medicines may help end psoriasis episodes

Psoriasis isn’t totally curable, so all medicines manufactured for it are meant to control but not cure the disease. The condition can be characterized by long periods of remission. When people have psoriasis, taking care of the skin, in and out of remission, is important. For this reason, may doctors recommend that people use a moisturizer daily, which may also be called a psoriasis cream.

Actually creams and lotions tend to be less effective than do ointments. Dermatologists may recommend people look for ointments or oils because these tend to stay on the skin longer than do creams and lotions. Look for those moisturizers with ingredients that calm the skin and that are hypoallergenic

It’s important to avoid using medicated over the counter psoriasis cream when also using prescription topical treatments. Be wary of ointments with active ingredients like corticosteroids. Doctors helping patients with psoriasis may have excellent suggestions on which topical moisturizers to use, and they can give advice on when over the counter active ingredients are appropriate. Many online support groups devoted to psoriasis also discuss the quality and benefits of different moisturizers.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

@donasmrs-- I don't agree with you. Coal tar cream isn't the best treatment for psoriasis and it certainly isn't the only effective one. Moreover, some doctors believe that using coal tar cream for a long period of time can lead to skin cancer. I believe them. After all, people are putting a coal by-product on their skin.

I use an all natural, organic cream for psoriasis. It contains ingredients like aloe vera, witch hazel, goldenseal, oat, barberry and other natural herbs. Of course, it takes more than a few days to show all of its effects. My psoriasis cleared up completely after several weeks of use. But when I use it regularly, the psoriasis doesn't come back. I think it's a better option than coal tar and costs about the same as well.

Post 2

@discographer-- I use a coal tar cream and have been for years. Coal tar used to be recommended by most doctors for psoriasis when I was young. Now, fewer doctors seem to be recommending it, but in my opinion, it's the best treatment out there. It's even better than prescription treatments.

Yes, it doesn't smell all that great and it can stain clothes. But when my psoriasis acts up, using coal tar cream for several days gets rid of the symptoms. I don't think there isn't anything else out there that can work as quickly.

Post 1

Is there an over the counter psoriasis cream that actually works? I've tried a few prescription ointments. Although they worked, they were too expensive so I stopped using them. I'm looking for an affordable over the counter alternative. Does anyone have a recommendation?

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