Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder characterized by red, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. With no definitive cure, the focus of treatment is usually symptom management, particularly during flare-ups. One of the most common modalities of treatment is topical therapy, involving the use of creams, ointments, and gels. This article seeks to answer the often-asked question: What is the best cream to treat psoriasis?
Before we dive into treatment options, it’s crucial to understand the underlying pathology of psoriasis. This autoimmune condition triggers the rapid buildup of skin cells, resulting in red, scaly patches that can be painful or itchy.
Categories of Topical Treatments
The most commonly prescribed treatment, corticosteroids like hydrocortisone, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin D Analogues
These include creams like calcipotriene and are often used in combination with corticosteroids.
Derived from Vitamin A, topical retinoids like tazarotene can regulate skin cell turnover.
Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus belong to this category and are particularly useful for sensitive areas like the face and skin folds.
This is a less common, older treatment that reduces scaling, itching, and inflammation.
What Makes a Cream the ‘Best’?
Determining the “best” cream depends on several factors:
- Severity of psoriasis
- Location of psoriasis patches
- Individual skin type
- Any accompanying conditions like eczema or dermatitis
What the Research Says
Studies suggest a combination therapy of corticosteroids and Vitamin D analogues to be most effective for plaque psoriasis, the most common form. However, consult a healthcare provider for a tailored treatment plan.
Pros and Cons of Popular Choices
- Pros: Quick relief, easily available
- Cons: Risk of skin thinning, less effective for long-term treatment
Vitamin D Analogues
- Pros: Effective in long-term use
- Cons: Can be irritating to the skin
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most commonly prescribed cream for psoriasis?
Corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed.
Can I buy psoriasis cream over-the-counter?
Some mild corticosteroids and coal tar-based products are available OTC.
How long does it take for the cream to show results?
The time frame varies, but most people see improvement within a couple of weeks.
Can creams cure psoriasis?
No, creams can only manage the symptoms. Psoriasis is a chronic condition with no definitive cure yet.
The best cream to treat psoriasis is subjective and depends on individual circumstances. Generally, a combination of corticosteroids and Vitamin D analogues has shown good results for plaque psoriasis. Always consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan tailored to your needs.