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Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear anywhere on the body. Psoriasis can cause itchy, burning and stinging sensations.
If you have psoriasis, it is particularly important to avoid certain ingredients in your skincare:
In addition to the guidelines above, following a skincare regimen designed for sensitive skin can be very effective for psoriasis sufferers.
Treatments that have proven effective in treating psoriasis include:
Salicylic Acid: A toner or liquid exfoliant containing salicylic acid will help exfoliate the red, scaly patches of psoriatic lesions. Removing these layers will allow other topical medications to better penetrate your skin. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to reduce the redness associated with psoriasis. Although there are many excellent over-the-counter options, a prescription-strength formula may be necessary to treat more severe cases of psoriasis.
Topical Steroid Creams: Over-the-counter cortisone cream and prescription-strength steroid creams are typically the first step in treating psoriasis. Steroid creams help to reduce the itching, inflammation, and growth of the psoriatic skin cells in mild to moderate psoriasis. More powerful prescription-grade topical steroids, called corticosteroids, can be very effective in treating more severe conditions. However, they carry a higher risk of side effects, such as burning, thinning of the skin, and dilated blood vessels. Always discuss possible side effects and proper application with your physician.
Topical retinoids: The combination of the prescription retinoid, Tazarotene, with corticosteroid creams has been shown to be especially effective on plaque psoriasis, the most prevalent form of psoriasis. This combination is also proving to be particularly effective in providing longer periods of relief, as well as helping to reduce the thinning effects of corticosteroids. Retinoids are not recommended for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
As always, discuss any possible side effects and proper application techniques for these and any other prescription medications with your physician or dermatologist.