Topical corticosteroids help reduce skin inflammation by suppressing the immune system. They are grouped according to their potency:
Precaution: Long-term/continuous therapy. Pregnant/nursing women, pediatric patients. Discontinue use if irritation/sensitization develops.
Side effects: Thinning of skin, temporary lightening of skin, skin allergies, adrenal or growth suppression.
low potency: desonide, hydrocortisone;
medium potency: betamethasone valerate, fluocinolone, fluocinonide, fluticasone, mometasone
high potency: betamethasone dipropionate, clobetasol, halobetasol
Vitamin D analogues slow down of skin cell growth. They can be used alone or in combination with other topical medications to help treat mild to moderate psoriasis.
Topical retinoids (tazarotene) decreases skin inflammation by normalizing DNA activity in skin cells.
Precaution: Avoid contact with eyes, eyelids, and mouth, avoid exposure to sunlight. Patients with sunburn should be advised not to use and must be warned to use sunscreen and protective clothes when using tazarotene until fully recovered.
Side effects: Carcinogenic, mutagenesis, teratogenic effects and impairment of fertility.
Salicylic acid has bacteriostatic and keratolytic properties, opens skin pores and promotes shedding of dead skin cells.
Side effects: Darkening of skin, skin irritations.
Drug interactions: Retinoids, solvents with alcohol, oil, acetone.
Coal tar preparations (shampoo, soap, ointment) reduces scaling, itchiness and inflammation, not recommended to pregnant and breast-feeding women.
Omega-3 supplements may reduce skin inflammation.
Topical skin protectants and emollients helps soothes and heal skin, may help ease itchiness, lessens redness or reduce burning sensation.