OTC Psoriasis Medications: Over the Counter Non-Prescriptions Meds May Help

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When psoriasis sufferers can control their outbreaks with OTC psoriasis medications (over-the-counter meds), they are fortunate. The most common type of nonprescription medication used to treat psoriasis is hydrocortisone cream. In addition to providing relief from intense itching, hydrocortisone also:

  • Reduces swelling and inflammation by restricting blood flow to psoriasis plaques.
  • Is available in varying strengths to address differing severities of psoriasis.
  • Inhibits the chemical response that produces itching.

Hydrocortisone is the main ingredient in this cream, which is a steroid hormone released by the adrenal cortex and responsible for carbohydrate utilization as well as blood pressure regulation.

Elbow psoriasis

Typical results experienced at the website of application are a short-lived burning or enhanced itching as well as weather changes in coloring. You need to not utilize hydrocortisone lotion on the face, as unexpected direct exposure to mucous membrane layers around the eyes might cause vision loss.

OTC psoriasis drugs including hydrocortisone additionally alleviates skin irritability arising from baby diaper breakout, insect attacks and even dermatitis. When utilizing hydrocortisone lotion, realize that excessive using the item could progressively minimize its performance along with create negative effects that for example muscle mass weak point, sleepiness, boosted peeing, migraine or perhaps psychological complication.


Found in topical creams meant to alleviate arthritis pain, capsaicin is also effective for treating the scaling, redness and itching of psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation states that creams containing .025 percent of capsaicin have reduced skin cell proliferation, which is the main cause of psoriasis plaques.

In addition, capsaicin improves circulation, relieves pain and may even contribute to weight loss. Researchers believe that capsaicin creams or supplements reduce pain by inhibiting substance P, a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.

OTC Psoriasis Medications Containing Coal Tar

People were using coal tar to heal irritated skin conditions over a hundred years ago. Because it has remained effective at slowing the growth rate of skin cells during a psoriasis outbreak, coal tar is still utilized in ointments for psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema as well as dandruff shampoos.

A natural extract of coal, coal tar is viscous, black and smells strongly of oil. Coal tar is usually combined with other psoriasis treatments such as salicylic acid and potent moisturizers to relieve itching and scaling. Concentrations of coal tar in creams can vary from one percent up to 20 percent.

Coal tar is applied directly on psoriasis lesions or massaged into the scalp as a shampoo. Users should stay out of direct sunlight for several hours because coal tar increases the skin's sensitivity to ultraviolet rays. When psoriasis affects the entire body, you can add about one tablespoon of a coal tar solution to a tubful of warm water and soak in this solution for five minutes to soften plaques.

Salicylic Acid

Used as a topical treatment for acne, salicylic acid is included in the list of effective OTC psoriasis medications. In addition to its ability to gently erode layers of dead skin cells causing psoriasis, salicylic acid also eliminates calluses, corns and plantar warts in this manner. Technically classified as a keratolytic, a chemical that “peels” away epidermal layers of the skin, salicylic acid is safe to use several times daily three or four times a week.

Well-known over the counter products containing salicylic acid include Compound W Wart Remover, as well as Dr. Scholl, Noxzema and Stridex products.

Possible side effects of using lotions or shampoos containing salicylic acid might be excessive dryness and stinging at the application site, often alleviated by reducing the usage amount. Applying more salicylic acid to psoriasis lesions will not expedite healing; rather, it will cause the skin to peel from dehydration and result in exacerbation of the plaques.

When OTC psoriasis medications do not seem to be helping your psoriasis, stop using these medicines and visit a dermatologist who can prescribe stronger medications not available at the counter. Applying OTC psoriasis creams for extended periods may produce severe side effects in some individuals sensitive to the medication's ingredients.



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National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases