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Ask Us #2: How Do I Treat Psoriasis?

Question: I have psoriasis on my forehead and scalp. I know it can’t be cured, but is there a way I can treat it to make it less visible? I don’t want to hide because I am embarrassed by it.

Answer: Psoriasis can be a challenging condition to treat, because it is a chronic condition with no cure and can lead to people feeling very self-conscious.  However, the good news is that most cases of psoriasis can be effectively controlled with topical medications.  You can start with some over-the counter treatments that are sold in most drugstores.  These include tar-based and salicylic acid shampoos such as Neutrogena’s T-gel shampoo.  You can use the shampoos on your face and the scalp. 

Topical steroids are usually the cornerstone of any psoriasis treatment regimen.  You can buy 1% hydrocortisone over the counter and put that on your forehead twice a day when it is flaring.  If these options are not effective, then I would recommend seeing a dermatologist who can prescribe much more potent topical steroids and instruct you how to safely use them.  For severe psoriasis, there are even oral and injectable medications that work very well.

You may also want to consider trying an antifungal shampoo as well, because many people with psoriasis also suffer from a condition called seborrheic dermatitis.  This condition can be improved with a shampoo such as Nizoral.

Jeremy Fenton, M.D.
Board Certified Dermatologist

Note: The information provided is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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