What are the goals of this leaflet?
This leaflet has been written to assist offer information about the topical treatment of psoriasis. It explains what topical treatment is, how it is to try and how to find out more about it.
What are topical treatments?
Topical treatment is something that is applied directly to the affected skin and body part. The general examples are creams, lotions, ointments, gels, and shampoos. Most folks with mild psoriasis are able to manage their skin complaint with topical treatment. Moderate or severe psoriasis typically requires additional therapy like ultraviolet or oral (by mouth) medication. See patient knowledge leaflet “Treatments for moderate or severe psoriasis”.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a general inflammatory skin disease affecting 2% of the population. It happens equally in male and female, can appear at any age, and tends to come and go unpredictably. It isn’t infectious, therefore you can’t catch psoriasis from somebody else. It doesn’t scar the skin although occasionally it can cause a temporary rise or reduction in skin pigmentation. Although psoriasis is a long-term condition there are several effective treatments available to keep it beneath good control.
Psoriasis can affect the nails and the connections as well as the skin. About half of folk with psoriasis have psoriasis affecting the nails. For folk with moderate to severe psoriasis about 1 in 3 will evolve psoriatic arthritis at a few time. Psoriatic arthritis produces swelling and stiffness in the connections or stiffness in the lower back and should be managed by a rheumatologist who works closely with the dermatologist and/or your GP.
Psoriasis, particularly moderate to severe psoriasis, is associated with an increased danger of anxiety and depression. Moderate to severe psoriasis increases the danger of heart disease and stroke and treatment of psoriasis may decrease this danger. Psoriasis can also be associated with an increased danger of noxious use of alcohol and with diabetes and obesity.
What are the main topical treatments used for psoriasis?
The goals of topical psoriasis treatment are to remove excess scaly skin and calm the underlying inflammation. This will improve the appearance and assist the skin feel more comfortable and less itchy. Different treatments are frequently used at different body sites and for few areas like the scalp, a mix of treatments are required to get the best outcomes. Treatments for psoriasis include the following:
- Emollients (moisturizers) work by moisturizing dry skin, decrease scaling and relieving itching. They soften cracked zones and assist other topical treatment to get through the skin and work more effectively.
They can also be used instead of soap for washing and cleaning washing. It’s typically advised that they are applied about half hours before other psoriasis treatments like steroids. Very mild psoriasis may settle with emollients alone. Emollients can be applied as frequently as required until the skin is no longer dry.
Paraffin-based emollients carry a fire danger. While emollients are in contact with the medical dressing or clothing, we recommend that you do not:
- get near people who are smoking or using naked flames
- use naked flames
- go near anything that may cause flames
As these emollients also soak in fabrics, it’s important that you change the clothing and bedding regularly.