Whether or not you might be taking any prescription medication, the availability of over the counter psoriasis treatment means that it is possible to get relief from the inflamed skin that epitomizes this disease, without necessarily even consulting with a doctor. Although it is generally advisable to seek medical advice with any condition, if only to make a positive diagnosis, psoriasis sufferers often find the best treatments are those which are not prescription only medications.
Before you begin to try and employ any self administered treatment, it is vital that you do get confirmation that what you are dealing with is psoriasis. This is always best sought from a medical professional, and in most cases a diagnosis can be made from just a brief examination of the skin. The signs and symptoms your doctor will be looking for when investigating a possible case of psoriasis will include the scaly red patches of skin that are typical of the disease.
What separates psoriasis from other skin disorders, such as eczema, is this scaly nature of the affected areas. The presence of these scales gives the skin area a silver or whitish appearance, combined with the red or pink coloured rash. These scales are actually dying skin cells which have built up on the surface of the epidermis, and once they die they will eventually flake off. If such scales are present when examining the skin rash, the diagnosis will almost always be psoriasis.
Once you are satisfied that you are in fact dealing with psoriasis, you can begin to look into what over the counter psoriasis treatment is available. This is not to say you should discount the prescription medications that your doctor will suggest, but to ensure you are aware that there are alternatives to the psoriasis medications on offer. The reason many people decide to try home treatments, is that psoriasis is actually an incurable disease. Any medication provided by your doctor will only be effective in treating the symptoms of the condition, not the cause of it.
Most of the psoriasis medications available also come with some unwanted side effects, another reason people turn to over the counter psoriasis treatment instead. Take the often prescribed steroid creams for example. Applied directly onto the affected areas of skin, these topical steroid treatments do actually have a visible effect on most cases of psoriasis. The problem is that they have the side effect of causing the skin to weaken and become fragile, leading to the increased likelihood of suffering from cuts to the skin very easily. For this reason, topical steroid treatment cannot be used long term. Once the use of these creams is suspended for safety reasons, most people find that the psoriasis begins to return almost immediately.
Over the counter psoriasis treatment is not only safer to use than doctor prescribed medication, but it tends to be much cheaper too. If you consider the fact that psoriasis is incurable, you might have to face up to the reality that whatever treatment you choose and that works for you, is going to become something you will have to rely on indefinitely in order to keep psoriasis at bay. However, as with prescription medication for psoriasis, over the counter products are only going to treat the symptoms of your condition, and not completely cure you of it. Here are a few popular choices for over the counter psoriasis relief:
OTC Steroid Creams
Although we have looked at the use of steroid creams as a treatment prescribed by your doctor, there are steroid based topical products available without a prescription. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical over the counter psoriasis treatment which uses the same active ingredient as prescription steroid creams, albeit with a much lower concentration. This makes them generally safer to use, and very useful for cases of psoriasis that only cover small areas of skin. They can be found under various different brand names, and your pharmacist will be able to help you to choose the most suitable one for you. As with any topical steroid product, you should always be careful about the possible side effects of over use and long term reliance on them.
Coal tar has gained a reputation for being a particularly effective over the counter psoriasis treatment. It works by slowing down the rapid production of skin cells that results in the scaly red patches of inflamed skin that characterises the condition. This in turn reduces the scaly appearance of the skin as well as the inflammation that comes with it. Coal tar can be found in many products, such as shampoos, soaps and ointments, and the higher the concentration of coal tar a product contains the more effective it will generally be.
A few side effects of using coal tar products do exist, most notably the fact that its use does make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. For this reason you should keep an eye on how much exposure to the sun your skin is getting when using a coal tar product, and consider using sunscreen when outdoors too. A few people also find that coal tar irritates the skin, and if you do experience this you should avoid using it further. Most people find coal tar to be a safe and generally effective over the counter treatment for psoriasis, albeit one that does have a slightly unpleasant odour, and can even stain your clothing and bedding if it comes into contact with them.
Salicylic acid is the active ingredient found in many dandruff shampoos and acne soap products. It is effective for these conditions by helping to remove the outer layers of skin. When used as a treatment for psoriasis, salicylic acid works by softening and removing the scales on the outer surface of the skin. Although it is easy to appreciate how this does little to deal with the root cause of the problem of psoriasis, it is a useful over the counter remedy for fairly mild cases.
Whilst these are probably the most common solutions, you will find that there are many more different over the counter psoriasis treatment options on the table. As with any disease for which there is no cure, finding a treatment that works for you will usually involve some trial and error. The main thing is that you should remain positive, especially if your first few attempts at treating your condition fail. Many treatments do take time to start to show results too, and so you should try to be patient when trying out something new.