One Person's Experience with Topical Treatments
Last updated: May 2023
I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 14. Since then, I have been prescribed numerous topical treatments. At one point I had numerous topical sitting at home on my dresser. Some of these products I used and some I didn’t. In this article, I will explain the good, the bad and the not-so-good of topical treatments for psoriasis.
Topicals are one of the oldest remedies for psoriasis. They are the easiest to apply and in most cases, the easiest to get covered by your insurance. Most times they are inexpensive. Even though there have been many instances when my doctor would prescribe a topical only for me to find out later at the pharmacy that it cost $40 for a small 1.8 oz. tube. On a positive note, most topicals have a generic brand, which are normally a lot cheaper than the name brand counterpart. Topicals are also a popular treatment because they are mobile. You can easily pack your psoriasis cream or ointment in your suitcase and take it on vacation with you. You can even keep it in your locker at school or gym bag for easy access. Topicals are the most accessible and that is why they are a “go to” for many people living with psoriasis.
Is there a downside?
I can remember so many times when I thought I had found the perfect topical treatment. I would be so excited to tell my doctor that something is finally working for my skin! Well, the downside is after a while of using steroid creams, your body may build a resistance to the medication and it can stop working. This is called tachyphylaxis. This has happened to me so many times and it is very frustrating. Also, prolonged uses of steroid creams can be detrimental to your skin causing thinning, changes in pigmentation and other skin damage. If your doctor instructs you to only use your steroid cream for a certain amount of time, it is important to follow those instructions to reduce resistance to that medication and skin damage.
The positive effects
In conjunction with my light treatment, I have found certain topical treatments to be very beneficial. Calcipotriene is a topical that I like. Calcipotriene is a synthetic form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D treats psoriasis, which explains my success with this drug. Calcipotriene can flatten psoriasis plaques by slowing down the process that creates new skin cells. Another topical I have used and found success is Clobetasol Propionate. Clobetasol Propionate comes in three forms: foam, cream and shampoo. I use the shampoo for my hair and I actually really like the outcome. All of the topical treatments listed above are only available by prescription.
Not all topicals used to treat psoriasis require a prescription. Many of the popular moisturizer companies like Cerave, Gold Bond, Cetaphil, and Eucerin offer great moisturizers formulated specifically for those suffering from psoriasis. My absolute favorite moisturizer for my psoriasis is Cetaphil. I have found it to be very helpful because it keeps my skin very moisturized.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?