by Badash M

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are used on the skin to ease symptoms and help with healing. Here are some that are used:

Coal Tar

Coal tar has been shown to ease scaly, itchy, and inflamed skin. It can be used on the scalp as a shampoo or on the skin as an oil. It may also be used with things like light therapy. It can be messy and hard to put on the skin.

Lotions and Baths

Keeping the skin moist with a gentle lotion can ease itching and inflamed skin. It should be used daily. Soaking in oatmeal baths or using warm, wet compresses can also soothe the skin.


People with mild symptoms may be helped by short, daily doses of sunlight. Sunlight can suppress the immune system. This can ease inflamed skin and slow the rapid growth of skin cells.


People who are not helped by other methods may be helped from phototherapy. It exposes the skin to ultraviolet light A (UVA) or ultraviolet light B (UVB). In some people, it may be used with a medicine called psoralen. This is known as photochemotherapy (PUVA).

It is given 3 to 5 times per week for 1 to 3 months using a light panel or light box at a doctor’s office. Some people may be able to use these devices at home.

Excimer Laser

An excimer laser uses targeted phototherapy to treat small areas that are not being helped by other methods.

Stay at a Healthy Weight

Being overweight can make this health problem worse. Reach or stay at a healthy weight through healthful eating and exercise. A doctor or dietitian can help.


Psoriasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed March 25, 2022.

Psoriasis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases. Available at: Accessed March 25, 2022.

Psoriasis resource center. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: Accessed March 25, 2022.

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