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Best Treatment for Psoriasis

Beth W. Orenstein [email protected]

Looking for the BEST treatment for psoriasis?

Part of your psoriasis treatment might include everyday health and beauty aids, shampoo, and skin care items you can get at your favorite drugstore. It's important, though, to check the ingredients labels carefully — and, of course, to know which ingredients will help relieve itch and loosen plaques, and which ones can irritate and even inflame your skin. Even from among all the psoriasis-friendly formulas, it might take some trial and error to find the best products for you. This guide about the Best Treatment for Psoriasis will help.

Some people are more sensitive to some ingredients than others. If you're not sure how you'll react to a product, test it on a small area of skin before using it. And if you're stumped, ask your health care provider for suggestions that will soothe skin as they ease off plaques.

Is Salicylic Acid the best treatment for Psoriasis?

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat psoriasis, "sal acid," as it's commonly called, is available in a variety of products, including shampoos, ointments, lotions, creams, soaps, and pastes. Salicylic acid helps to soften scales and exfoliate or lift them off your skin. Sal acid can be helpful as long as you use it according to directions. Too much salicylic acid, or salicylic acid left on the skin (or scalp) for too long, can cause irritation or stinging. If your shampoo has salicylic acid, focus it on your scalp rather than your hair, because it can weaken shafts, leading to breakage and hair loss (hair should return to normal once you stop using it).

Are Sulfates the best treatment for Psoriasis?

Most shampoos contain sulfates to create a rich, foamy lather -- without the froth, it seems, people don't think their shampoo is working. However, sulfates can irritate the scalp. If you have a sensitive scalp and psoriasis, look for sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates may be listed under ingredients as sodium laureth (or lauryl) sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate.

Is Coal Tar the best treatment for Psoriasis?

Coal tar is another ingredient approved by the FDA to treat psoriasis, including scalp psoriasis. However, you might want to test coal tar on a small area of your skin to be sure it doesn't cause irritation or redness. Because coal tar can make your skin more sensitive to the sun's ultraviolet rays, be sure to apply sunscreen to treated areas if you're going to be outside for any length of time. "Coal tar can be messy, so some people don't like to use it," says Stefan Weiss, MD, of the Weiss Skin Institute in Boca Raton, Fla. Refined coal tars such as liquor carbonis detergens (LCD) have less odor and cause less staining, but they're also less effective and can be harder to find.

And finally... some feel that Tea Tree Oil is the best treatment for Psoriasis.

"At one time, tea tree oil was seen as the panacea for psoriasis," Dr. Weiss says of the oil that's extracted from the leaves of a tree native to Australia. "Now, not so much." Some people report that tea tree oil helps relieve symptoms of their scalp psoriasis, and others find they're allergic to it.

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