When a person first develops psoriasis, and, more generally, in cases where psoriasis is only affecting a relatively small area of the patient’s body, topical psoriasis treatment is usually recommended. Topical medications are available in many different forms and can utilize different mechanisms that decelerate abnormal skin growth and reduce inflammation induced by psoriasis. Many of these products are available over the counter, but some are only available by prescription.
The most commonly used substances fall into the category of corticosteroids (or simply “steroids”). They are also referred to as anti-inflammatories due to their ability to reduce swelling and redness of the skin.
Corticosteroids are classified according to their strength or potency, and range from class 1 (very strong/superpotent) to class 7 (very weak/least potent). The stronger a corticosteroid is, the more effectively it can clear psoriasis from a patient’s skin. The greater the strength of the steroid though, the higher risk of side effects.
Topical steroids cannot be used alone in order to adequately treat moderate or severe cases of psoriasis. If this is the case, they will have to be combined with other topical psoriasis treatment methods.
Continuous use of higher-strength steroids, or improper use of steroids (for instance, application of a steroid ointment in the wrong areas) can cause various side effects, which usually come in some form of skin damage. These can go away once a person stops taking steroids, but in some cases damage may be permanent.
Tips for all forms of topical psoriasis treatment
Topical psoriasis treatment medications come in various forms, such as creams, ointments, lotions, gels, and so on, and their form determines the rate at which the substance is absorbed by the skin. Typically, they are applied a couple times per day, however this may vary and you should always ask your doctor to determine proper dosage. It is also important that they are applied only to psoriasis lesions, so as to avoid the irritation of neighboring healthy skin tissue.
Furthermore, these medications should also not be applied to sensitive areas (such as the genitals or eyes) unless specifically directed by your doctor. Also, if you have been prescribed multiple topicals, it is important to remember that not only that you should not be applying them at the same time, but also that they may need to be applied in a particular order. Again, ask your doctor for details.
Lastly, it is crucial that all topical psoriasis treatment medications are applied consistently throughout the prescribed period. It is only then that they can be truly effective.