Ointments Lotions For Psoriasis

Ointments Lotions For Psoriasis

Psoriasis is more than simply dry skinit is a medical condition that affects over 3 percent of Americans, or approximately 5 million people. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder in which the brain mistakenly sends signals to the body to produce more skin cells than are needed; cells become so active that the individuals immune system is triggered, and the result is reddened, inflamed skin.

Topical treatmentsthose placed directly on the surface of the skinare available in a variety of preparations, including lotions, creams and ointments. Lotions contain oil and alcohol in water and can be drying depending on the alcohol content. Creams are also made with oil in water, but they often have preservatives that can lead to allergic reactions. Ointments are semisolid preparations that are greasy and slower to absorb.

Applying standard hand lotions and beauty ointments has little effect on easing the discomfort of a flareup of psoriasis. In order to be effective, a treatment must contain ingredients to slow the growth of skin cellsthereby reducing inflammationand remove buildup of scales.

OvertheCounter Lotions and CreamsDepending on the severity and location of the psoriasis, many cases can be treated with overthecounter preparations. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of psoriasis: salicylic acid and coal tar. Both may be used on the body, hands, feet and scalp.

Salicylic acid causes the outer layer of skin to shed. It lifts and softens scales caused by psoriasis, helping to remove scales. Strong salicylic acid creams can be irritating to the skin if left on too long, and can occasionally weaken hair shafts and lead to hair loss. It should not be used on extensive areas of the body.

Coal tar slows the rapid growth of skin cells, decreasing inflammation, itching and scaling. The tar is applied once daily for 10 to 15 minutes. Though it can be highly effective for mildtomoderately severe cases of psoriasis, there are a number of drawbacks to consider. Tar can irritate and dry the skin, so it should be tested on a small area first. Tar can stain clothing, bedding and even lightcolored hair and makes skin highly sensitive to sunlight. Care must be taken to thoroughly wash off the tar preparation and to use sunscreen before going outdoors. Some studies have shown that tar preparations can cause cancer; however, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the FDA has determined that preparations containing 0.5 to 5 percent tar are safe.

Calcipotriene, or Dovonex, carries properties similar to vitamin D. It was developed after research showed that individuals with low levels of calcium and vitamin D were susceptible to psoriasis. According to Dr. Daniel Federman, Dr. Catherine Froelich and Dr. Robert Kirsner, in American Family Physician, it is a firstline treatment for psoriasis with few side effects, though it should not be applied to the face or groin area and should not be used by pregnant women.

Tazarotene has properties similar to vitamin A. Because it frequently causes dermatitis, tazarotene must only be applied to affected skin. It may also cause sensitivity to sunlight. It may be used on the face as well as the body. Tazarotene can cause birth defects and must not be taken by pregnant women.

Anthralin originated from goa powder, traditionally used for skin diseases in India and Brazil. Anthralin inhibits cell growth and is a very effective treatment for psoriasis but has drawbacks that have led to decreased use in recent years. Like coal tar, anthralin stains clothes, bedding and hair as well as skin and nails. It is very irritating to skin so must be applied with care. Petroleum or zinc oxide ointment may be applied around the affected skin to create a protective barrier.

Corticosteroid TreatmentsTopical corticosteroids are the mostcommonly used treatment for psoriasis. These steroidal ointments and creams are not the same as steroids used by bodybuildersthey are derived from the natural corticosteroid hormone produced by the human body and are highly effective in reducing inflammation and redness.

Lowstrength corticosteroids are used on sensitive areas of skin, such as the face and genitals. Midstrength preparations are used on the torso, arms, legs, hands and feet. Low and midstrength corticosteroids should be used for no longer than three weeks. The higheststrength corticosteroids should be used for no longer than two weeks and only on areas resistant to previous treatment or on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Corticosteroids carry numerous potential side effects, including skin damage, easy bruising, skin thinning and changes in skin pigmentation. They can also cause damage to internal organs if applied to large areas or used for long periods, and can lead to cataracts or glaucoma, so corticosteroids should not be used around the eyes. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web sitemany of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.