Posted on April 28, 2011, under Skin Care.
Topical cortisone creams
Topical cortisone creams are probably the most popular form of treatment. They are safe, cosmetically acceptable and do not stain clothing. They are generally helpful but by themselves do not usually clear the lesions. They are most useful when used in combination with other treatments.
Tar creams have been used for centuries and there is no doubt that they are useful in psoriasis although they rarely completely clear the lesions. They are more helpful when used in conjunction with ultraviolet light and their effectiveness varies, depending on where the tar comes from. The main problem with tar creams is that they are messy, smelly and often stain clothing. They are very useful, however, when used on the scalp as tar-based shampoos.
Dithranol cream has been used since the 1930s. It is extremely effective in psoriasis and can completely clear the lesions. The main problem with Dithranol is that it stains skin, hair, clothing and bed linen. If a cream containing triethanolamine is used after Dithranol cream, however, staining can be significantly reduced. Dithranol can burn the skin, especially in the first few days of use. Nonetheless, it is very safe and effective and so is still frequently used.
Sunlight has been used in treating psoriasis since at least Egyptian times. It is not certain how this treatment works, although recent studies suggest that it affects the immune system.
The main problem with this treatment is that sunlight is not available all year round and certain parts of the anatomy cannot be modestly exposed to it. Moreover, excessive exposure to sunlight carries with it the risk of skin cancer. Sunlight is, however, a very popular form of treatment where it is readily available. The Dead Sea region in Israel is renowned for its psoriasis treatment centers, and it seems the sunlight is more important than the Dead Sea minerals in treating the condition.
Artificial ultraviolet В light is effective in treating psoriasis, but requires careful monitoring and preferably should be performed in a doctor’s surgery, so that burning will not occur. The main risk of this treatment is the possibility of developing skin cancer in the long term. For this reason it is not a good idea to use sunlamps at home – it is easy to ‘overdose’, causing significant burns and even cancer.