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Best over the counter shampoo for psoriasis: 12 Best Shampoos for Scalp Psoriasis Recommended By Dermatologists


12 Best Shampoos for Scalp Psoriasis Recommended By Dermatologists


Don’t let the words “coal tar” scare you — these shampoos work.

Design by Bella Geraci

This story is part of Survivor’s Guide, a series on navigating the impact of psoriasis through beauty and self-care.

It’s pretty safe to say that scalp problems of any nature, including itchiness and flaking, are extremely annoying to anyone who suffers from them. But scalp psoriasis — a common condition characterized by thick, red, scaly patches of skin that can cover the entire scalp and be chronic — is arguably the most painful and inconvenient. Scalp psoriasis treatment often comes in the form of oils, steroid solutions, and even ointments, but basic care starts in the shower with the shampoo you use.

Those battling scalp psoriasis want to aim for a formula that simultaneously sloughs away flakes while soothing irritation. New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Sejal Shah says you should look for a shampoo with ingredients such as salicylic acid and coal tar, which is a dark liquid by-product of coke and coal gas from coal and is used in medications to treat psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Coal tar may sound scary, but dermatologists say it significantly helps to slow the rapid growth of skin cells while reducing inflammation. Ahead, find Shah’s favorite shampoos for scalp psoriasis, as well as other expert recommendations.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  • Courtesy of brand

    DHS Sal Shampoo

    One shampoo recommended by Adam Friedman, a board-certified dermatologist based in Washington, D. C., is DHS Sal Shampoo, which contains salicylic acid to effectively break down the scales so they’re easier to remove without damaging the hair or further irritating the scalp. It’s also especially good for people who suffer from crusty scales, which can often be very tough to treat.

    $11 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Extra Strength

    Neutrogena’s tried-and-true T-Gel has over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and is often recommended by dermatologists. “This shampoo contains 1 percent coal tar and is formulated with conditioners to reduce scale and symptoms while leaving hair manageable,” explains Shah. It’s no wonder people swear by the stuff.

    $9 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand 

    Head and Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis Shampoo

    Head and Shoulders Clinical Strength Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis Shampoo is a powerhouse option recommended by New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park. “This shampoo contains 1 percent of selenium sulfide, which helps to control skin flaking through its anti-fungal and oil-controlling properties,” she explains. Additionally, it works to combat excess oil production, which can make flaking and itchiness worse.

    $8 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    MG217 3% Coal Tar Formula Shampoo

    MG217’s 3% Coal Tar Formula Shampoo is another one of Shah’s favorites, particularly for people with severe scalp psoriasis. It contains the equivalent of 3 percent coal tar, which is very effective for eradicating scalp buildup and irritation.

    $10 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Dove Derma Care Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti Dandruff Shampoo

    Unilever consultant and New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Francesca Fusco recommends Dove’s Derma Care Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti Dandruff Shampoo for the scalp. It contains zinc pyrithione, which she says addresses dryness, flaking, and dandruff. It’s less intense than the formulas that contain coal tar, so you may want to give Dove’s shampoo a try first.

    $5 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner

    Enriched with 3 percent salicylic acid and a calming zinc complex, Dermarest’s Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner targets multiple symptoms of scalp psoriasis, including itching, redness, and severe flaking. “The salicylic acid in this shampoo helps to lift off scales and soften thick psoriasis plaques on the scalp,” says Claire Chang, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “This also allows for deeper penetration of topical medications applied after.”

    $7 for one 8-ounce bottle (Shop Now) or $13 for two 8-ounce bottles (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo

    Friedman recommends T/Sal, another favorite from Neutrogena, for those with milder scalp psoriasis. It’s less intense than T-Gel, but still contains salicylic acid to chemically exfoliate scales. It also controls redness and itching, which are commonly associated with the condition.

    $6 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Psoriatrax 5% Coal Tar Psoriasis Shampoo

    According to Chang, Psoriatrax’s 5% Coal Tar Psoriasis Shampoo helps to inhibit skin cell growth and scale buildup, which helps to reduce inflammation, redness, and itching. You’ll want to apply this as more of a treatment, rather than a traditional shampoo that you rinse out immediately. “It should be left on for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing off, in order to give it time to work,” says Chang.

    $19 (Shop Now)

Most Popular

  • Courtesy of brand

    Rugby Sebex Shampoo

    The packaging might look like something your dad would buy at a sports shop, but Rugby’s Sebex Shampoo, which is infused with salicylic acid, packs a mega punch and breaks down the buildup caused by psoriasis. It’s one of Shah’s top recommendations for those who struggle with any type of scalp condition, but it’s especially helpful for those with more severe conditions.

    $6 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Bakers P&S Shampoo

    “Bakers P&S shampoo with salicylic acid is a favorite of mine,” says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein. “Like other salicylic acid-containing shampoos, it can really help the flaking and itching associated with psoriasis.” She advises leaving it on the scalp for at least five minutes post-lathering to give it time to loosen the scales.

    $20 (Shop Now)

  • Courtesy of brand

    Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo

    Selsun Blue’s Medicated Maximum Strength Dandruff Shampoo is a dermatologist favorite — plus, it’s under $10, which is always nice. “It contains selenium sulfide, an anti-microbial ingredient that lowers levels of yeast on the scalp,” says New York City board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. “By lowering yeast, you can reduce scalp inflammation that contributes to flaking.”

    $7 (Shop Now)

  • Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

    Nizoral’s Anti-Dandruff Shampoo contains ketoconazole, which Zeichner explains is an effective anti-fungal medication that lowers yeast levels on the scalp, and lowering yeast levels leads to less inflammation and flaking. 

    “Even though it’s called a shampoo, you should really use [Nizoral] as a scalp treatment,” he says. “Rub it into the scalp with your fingertips and let it lather while you slowly sing the alphabet, then rinse out.” Leaving the formula on for a few minutes allows the medication to work its magic.

    $15 (Shop Now)

About Me: Brooklyn-dweller with a love for bronzer, books, and breakfast food. (And alliteration).
Hair Texture: Fine-ish
Hair Color: Medium-to-dark brown
Biggest Hair Concern: Breakage, breakage, breakage
Skin Tone: Light/Medium with neutral undertones
Skin Type: Dry/Sensitive
Greatest Skin Concern: Redness . .. Read more

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7 Best Shampoos for Scalp Psoriasis

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  • Best recognized scalp psoriasis shampoo: MG217 Medicated Conditioning Shampoo
  • Best gentle shampoo for scalp psoriasis: Vanicream Dandruff Shampoo
  • Best shampoo for scalp psoriasis with intense cooling: Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo
  • Best daily shampoo for scalp psoriasis: Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Extra Strength
  • Best moisturizing shampoo for scalp psoriasis: Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner
  • Best value shampoo for scalp psoriasis: Selsun Blue Medicated Max Strength Dandruff Shampoo
  • Best strengthening shampoo for scalp psoriasis: Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes flaky, itchy, scaly skin on the scalp. Although there’s no cure for scalp psoriasis, specially formulated shampoos may bring some relief.

While many of these products are only available by prescription, there are also some that you can buy over the counter (OTC).

We did the research to find seven great options that may help break down scales and reduce itching and flaking.

Since you’re reading this article, chances are you already know what scalp psoriasis is, but here’s a quick overview just in case.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that can happen anywhere on the body. It sometimes crops up in areas that are hard to treat, such as the nails and scalp.

Psoriasis can also appear on other parts of the body, including:

  • knees
  • elbows
  • back
  • back of the ears
  • neck

Like other types of psoriasis, scalp psoriasis causes skin to build up and form scaly patches called plaques.

Mild cases have fine scales, while moderate cases will have thicker scales and more irritation. Severe cases result in large, thick plaques with overlying thick scales.

To create this list, we looked mainly for products that contain salicylic acid and coal tar to target scalp psoriasis. These are two ingredients recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD).

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that’s often used as an exfoliant. It helps soften and break down plaques and scales for easier removal. Removing the plaques should help ease symptoms, like itching, burning, and irritation.

Coal tar is derived from black coal, and, according to the AAD, has been used to treat psoriasis for over 100 years. It helps pump the brakes to make sure the skin cells on your scalp aren’t growing too fast and building up. Still, coal tar can be drying and can stain.

We also included shampoos with other research-backed ingredients, like selenium sulfide.

Finally, we looked at reviews from customers with scalp psoriasis to determine the effectiveness of each one.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10-$15
  • $$$ = over $15

Best recognized scalp psoriasis shampoo

MG217 Medicated Conditioning Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key ingredients: coal tar

This shampoo, recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation, uses 3 percent coal tar as the active ingredient. It claims to fight irritation, itchiness, redness, and scaling. It leaves behind a fresh herbal scent — a rare feature, since many coal tar shampoos have a strong smell.

One reviewer says the shampoo is “effective, conditioning, and smells better than the other tar shampoos.”

One important thing to note: Coal tar makes your skin sensitive to sunlight and may increase your chances of sunburn for up to 24 hours after use. Be sure to stay out of the sun, or wear a hat or other sun protection if you do go out.


  • pleasant scent
  • highly rated by reviewers
  • recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation


  • may increase your chance of sunburn

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Best gentle shampoo for scalp psoriasis

Vanicream Dandruff Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: many hair types, excluding fine
  • Key ingredients: pyrithione zinc

This medicated shampoo is a gentle yet mighty cleanser used to fight dandruff without chemical irritants.

It contains 2 percent pyrithione zinc, which has antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. That means it can help banish fungus, bacteria, and microorganisms that may contribute to an itchy, flaky scalp.

Reviewers say the product is great for dandruff control, and it relieves itching, irritation, redness, flaking, and scaling — all common symptoms of scalp psoriasis.

The shampoo is reported to be very thick, making it hard to spread. Some reviewers report that it can leave hair looking greasy, so it might not be the best choice for fine hair.


  • gentle formula
  • fragrance-free
  • free from sulfates, dyes, and parabens


  • not ideal for fine hair
  • may be tough to spread

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Best shampoo for scalp psoriasis with intense cooling

Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key ingredients: selenium sulfide, menthol

Head & Shoulders has a variety of dermatologist-tested clinical shampoos and conditioners to help with dandruff and itchiness.

The collection includes this shampoo, which contains 1 percent selenium sulfide. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, selenium sulfide reduces Malassezia yeast growth (one of the culprits behind dandruff) and helps slow cell turnover.

It’s worth mentioning that the original version of this shampoo had higher praises from reviewers — many wish the original version was still available. This new formula is considered extra strength and now includes menthol for “intense” cooling.

Note: If you have bleached, tinted, gray, or permed hair, Head & Shoulders recommends rinsing for 5 minutes after shampooing, likely because these hair types are prone to weakening.


  • brand has a line of shampoos for itchiness and dandruff
  • formula contains selenium sulfide, which has antimicrobial properties


  • most reviewers prefer the original formula
  • some may not prefer cooling menthol
  • some hair types need to rinse for 5 minutes to avoid weakening

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Best daily shampoo for scalp psoriasis

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Extra Strength

  • Price: $
  • Best for: many hair types, except curly and dry
  • Key ingredients: coal tar

Neutrogena Therapeutic T/Gel Shampoo contains 1 percent coal tar. It’s designed to be gentle on the scalp. Neutrogena claims the shampoo starts working immediately and continues to be effective after it’s rinsed. It also claims that this shampoo can be used daily.

Reviewers rave about this shampoo. They say it’s great for targeting a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp, and it seems like a good choice for most hair types. The only reported downside is the smell, a common issue among coal tar shampoos.

Keep in mind that this product contains sodium laureth sulfate, which can be drying. It also contains fragrance.


  • budget-friendly
  • highly rated by reviewers
  • can be used daily


  • not for curly and dry hair types
  • contains fragrance
  • contains sulfate, which can be drying
  • reviewers note a strong scent

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Best moisturizing shampoo for scalp psoriasis

Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner

  • Price: $
  • Best for: dry, thin hair
  • Key ingredients: salicylic acid and zinc complex

This fragrance-free pick is both a shampoo and conditioner that targets itching and flaking from psoriasis. It contains salicylic acid and zinc complex for soothing irritating symptoms.

It also adds in some extras — green tea extract, Kukui nut oil, and safflower extract — for a boost of moisture.

Most reviewers mention how well this product works for their psoriasis and confirm that it’s actually fragrance-free.

This pick is also recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation.


  • budget-friendly
  • Recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation
  • creates rich lather


  • contains nuts (an allergen for some)

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Best value shampoo for scalp psoriasis

Selsun Blue Medicated Max Strength Dandruff Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key Ingredients: selenium sulfide, menthol

Selsun Blue is a well-known shampoo brand for managing dandruff. This medicated shampoo promises to help ease and even prevent itch and flakes.

It contains 1 percent selenium sulfide for reducing yeast growth, and menthol is added for a soothing, cooling sensation. Reviewers rave about how effective it is for dry, itchy scalps.


  • large bottle
  • budget-friendly
  • quick lather


  • contains sulfates

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Best strengthening shampoo for scalp psoriasis

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key ingredients: ketoconazole

It contains 1 percent ketoconazole, which is a popular treatment for psoriasis. One small, older study also suggests that this ingredient may help with hair regrowth.

The brand says this shampoo starts working after just one use and that it creates a thick lather. You can use it for up to 8 weeks, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

The brand also claims that this shampoo is safe for color-treated and gray hair. Amazon reviewers are floored by how well it works and confirm that it has a clean, fresh scent.


  • lightweight
  • aluminum-free, paraben-free
  • fast-acting


  • higher price point

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NamePriceBest forKey ingredients
MG217 Medicated Conditioning Shampoo$$all hair typescoal tar
Vanicream Dandruff Shampoo$$many hair types, except finepyrithione zinc
Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo$$$all hair typesselenium sulfide, menthol
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Extra Strength$many hair types, except curly and drycoal tar
Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner$dry, thin hairsalicylic acid and zinc complex
Selsun Blue Medicated Max Strength Dandruff Shampoo$all hair typesselenium sulfide, menthol
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo$$all hair typesketoconazole

In addition to finding a specially formulated shampoo, here are a few other things you can do to keep scalp psoriasis symptoms in check:

  • Shampoo your hair as often as you can. This will help alleviate buildup and itchiness. However, keep in mind that shampooing every day isn’t suitable for all hair types.
  • Limit stress, alcohol, and smoking. Along with irritants in your hair products, scalp psoriasis flare-ups can also be triggered by stress, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Limiting stress and intake of these substances may help keep things under control.
  • Try aloe vera. Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory properties and may be soothing. You can try applying it to your scalp, or look for it as an ingredient in your shampoo.
  • Use baking soda. Baking soda is great for an itchy scalp. One tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a cup of water should do the trick. Apply the mixture to your scalp to relieve itching and irritation.
  • Apply natural oils. These will help keep your scalp moisturized and are filled with fats to keep the scalp healthy. Coconut oil is a great oil to start with.

Still unsure how to pick the right shampoo for your hair and scalp? Here’s what to consider:

  • Severity of your symptoms. If you’re experiencing a mild to medium case of scalp psoriasis, start with an OTC shampoo. If you have a severe case, or if OTC products don’t seem to help, you may need to see your doctor for a prescription shampoo.
  • Consider your hair type. Check the ingredients list before you make a purchase, especially if you have dry, curly, color-treated, or fine hair. Some shampoos may contain drying ingredients, like sulfates, while others may be too heavy for fine hair.
  • Do your research. If you didn’t see a shampoo on this list you want to try, no worries! There are many shampoos out there that will work great for you. Just look for key ingredients, like salicylic acid or coal tar, and check reviews to see what others with scalp psoriasis have to say about it.

It’s a good idea to visit your dermatologist if you have scalp psoriasis. If you notice that your symptoms aren’t improving with specially formulated shampoos, or if your symptoms are worsening, see your doctor. This is especially important if your symptoms are painful or interfere with your daily life.

Keep in mind that these products won’t cure scalp psoriasis, but they may help manage flare-ups.

If your condition worsens, check in with your doctor. Some cases of scalp psoriasis are more severe and may require prescription shampoos.

As with any new product, be sure to do a patch test before using a scalp psoriasis shampoo over your whole head. To do a patch test, put some product on the inside of your wrist and wait 24 hours, watching for signs of irritation.

Coal tar might not be safe to use during pregnancy or on infants, so talk with your doctor first.

Using some of these shampoos alone can be drying to your hair because coal tar and salicylic acid strip away oils. Find a good conditioner and make sure that you’re keeping your hair and scalp moisturized. Some brands — such as Head & Shoulders and Vanicream — have conditioners that pair with their respective shampoos. As for other shampoos, you can pair them with moisturizing or intensive care conditioners.

Can shampoo get rid of psoriasis?

Most specifically formulated shampoos can help ease symptoms of scalp psoriasis. Some, including MG217 Medicated Conditioning Shampoo, Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, and Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus Conditioner, are even considered effective treatments by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

What helps with scalp psoriasis fast?

Some of the best shampoos for scalp psoriasis claim you’ll see results after just one use. If you’re not sure which product is right for you, talk with your doctor about your options.

Should you wash your hair every day with scalp psoriasis?

Washing your hair with a medicated shampoo that targets scalp psoriasis will help treat and prevent symptoms, but many aren’t designed for daily use. Most brands suggest using their shampoo twice weekly unless your doctor suggests otherwise.

There are a variety of products that can help you manage scalp psoriasis flare-ups. Any products that contain salicylic acid and coal tar are great options.

Talk with a doctor or dermatologist if your scalp psoriasis persists or worsens while using these shampoos, or if at-home treatments don’t work.

Breanna Mona is an empathetic writer committed to helping people live their most authentic lives. Her work focuses on general health, wellness, beauty, sexual health, and mental health. Breanna is also a pop culture enthusiast, covering high-profile entertainment stories. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism from Kent State University.

Morgan Armstead is a senior at Johnson C. Smith University and an intern with Healthline, writing beauty and wellness material.

Treatment of psoriasis

Aesthetic Dermatology Clinic

Educational materials



Treatment of psoriasis

Psoriasis is a disease associated with a change in more than 50 genes and subsequent changes in body processes and metabolism. The sooner these shifts are recognized, the sooner they can be corrected. There are three main areas of violations:

  • Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism (diabetes),
  • Changes in cholesterol levels (associated with damage to blood vessels – pressure, potency, heart attacks, strokes),
  • Enhanced immune system response – the body fights against its own tissues, not just diseases or the micro-organisms that cause them (bacteria).

It is important to learn to live with psoriasis. By changing your lifestyle and choosing an appropriate diet, you can control the visual manifestations of the disease (the rash may disappear altogether). Also, when controlling the disease, possible complications that can be caused by disorders of carbohydrate and fat metabolism and the functioning of the immune system, characteristic of scaly lichen, are eliminated.

Guidelines for psoriasis

Depending on the severity of the disease process, psoriasis is divided into mild, moderate and severe forms. For classification purposes, evaluate:

  • Area of ​​affected skin in percent,
  • Redness of existing rash,
  • Rash Density,
  • Number of scales.

The impact of the rash on quality of life is also evaluated, since an inconspicuous (hidden) rash is much less of a concern than lesions on the face, palms and genitals.

The most appropriate therapy for psoriasis is determined by the methodological recommendations approved in Latvia, which highlight the types of therapy that best suit a particular type and/or severity of psoriasis. These guidelines were developed under the guidance of prof. J. Kisis and were officially adopted in Latvia in 2013. The Guidelines determine which medicines for the treatment of psoriasis are covered by the government. The full contents of the guidelines can be found here.

Therapy of psoriasis

Since psoriasis is a genetically determined general disease of the body, it is important to evaluate all possible processes that improve the effect and prognosis of therapy. A simple treatment of the rash gives only a short-term and insufficient effect. A complete treatment of psoriasis includes many factors that can be used to control the disease:

  • Top skin care – you should use only products and drugs prescribed by your doctor, follow the instructions of a dermatologist, as pharmacy products may not be suitable for all types of psoriasis. Chronic inflammation of the skin contributes to the development of tumors.
  • Diet – should be checked for certain digestive disorders (i.e. metabolic disorders, such as insufficient secretion of gastric juices or an allergic reaction to various foods), expressed in intolerance to various substances. There is a risk of developing diabetes. To avoid this, the patient should not take many calories at a time, and should refrain from drinking alcohol (pancreatic disorders).
  • Physical activity – varied sports or physical activity can reduce the risk of heart problems (cardiac) – the rhythmic work of the heart contributes to lipid metabolism (lipids or fats are involved in the process of forming the lining of blood vessels, and are also part of the binders of skin cells). Studies have shown that sports people suffer from psoriasis much less.
  • It is necessary to be aware of the factors that exacerbate psoriasis, both weather conditions and the change of seasons can cause adverse reactions (allergies, sensitivities). In autumn it can be a temperature difference, and in spring it can be pollen.

Treatments for psoriasis

Treatments for psoriasis are used either directly at the site of the rash or in general (eg medicines for internal use). To choose the most appropriate treatment method, you need to consider not only the type and severity of psoriasis, but also age, gender, occupation, general health, and other factors.

Phototherapy for psoriasis

The beginnings of phototherapy date back to 2000 years ago in ancient Egypt, where a combination of photosensitizing plant extracts (photosensitizing plants contain substances that increase sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation) and sunlight were used to treat skin diseases. Currently, it is one of the most widely used methods in the treatment of psoriasis, which:

  • Reduces excessive activity of the immune system (immunosuppressive effect),
  • Reduces inflammation,
  • Reduces cell overgrowth (antiproliferative effect),
  • Has an antibacterial effect.

Narrow spectrum UVB and UVA radiation is used to treat psoriasis with special lamps. UVA/UVB therapy can be used for children and pregnant women and is often combined with other treatments and medications.

Laser therapy for psoriasis

Laser therapy is similar in principle to narrow spectrum UVB phototherapy (NB-UVB 311 nm) and is used to treat localized lesions of psoriasis.

Cryotherapy for psoriasis

Cold therapy is mainly used to treat small lesions. There are few publications on the use of this therapy, and its effectiveness is low, so it is not widely used.

Medicines for psoriasis

Any medicines and preparations should be used only under the supervision of a dermatologist, carefully following the instructions of the doctor. Self-medication of psoriasis can exacerbate the disease, prolong the course of therapy, and also create serious complications.

  • Retinoids or synthetic derivatives of vitamin A. They have a high therapeutic activity – they can affect immune cells, return the reproduction and development of keratinocytes (cells that synthesize keratin – a protein that protects the epithelium from damage) within normal limits. They can be used for a long time, and they are suitable for children.
  • Cyclosporine A is an immunosuppressive drug. Its effectiveness in psoriasis is associated with its effect on the immune system and the ability to reduce the pathological increased reproduction of keratinocytes in the skin.
  • Methotrexate is a drug that inhibits cell metabolism (metabolism), it was originally used to treat cancer, but since the 1970s it has also been approved for the treatment of psoriasis.
  • Wobenzym is an over-the-counter drug available in tablet form. It has an anti-inflammatory, anti-edema effect, normalizes the body’s defenses, thins the blood, which allows you to restore the level of digestive enzymes (enzymes) in the body in order to reduce the manifestations of chronic diseases, including psoriasis.

Biologics for psoriasis

Biologicals are viruses, serums, toxins, antitoxins, vaccines, blood and blood components or other similar products used to treat or prevent disease. They improve or restore the body’s ability to fight infection and other diseases. Usually the drug molecules are large, so they are injected into the subcutaneous layer, muscles or veins.

Biologic therapy is used when other treatments for moderate to severe psoriasis have failed. The cost of therapy is high compared to other treatments.

Psoriasis injections

Corticosteroids, a type of steroid hormone used in medicine for various immunological and inflammatory diseases, are used for injections. Injections of these steroids are a suitable method for treating small lesions in a well-defined area of ​​the body, such as the outer surfaces of the hands or fingers. The effect is stable, and a second injection may be needed only after a few months.

Latest treatments for psoriasis

The latest therapy is associated with increased interaction between cells involved in the pathological process of psoriasis (lymphocytes, etc.) using signals from biologically active substances. Biological preparations either block pathological substances (the effect of antibodies) or contain receptors that block the pathological process. The use of this method is limited by its high cost and conditions of use (there should be no inflammatory processes or tumors, an extremely detailed control of exclusion factors, etc.) is required.

State-reimbursed medicines for psoriasis

The list of state-reimbursed medicines includes certain medicines for the treatment of psoriasis. For more information about these medicines and the amount covered by the government, please consult a dermatologist.

OTC psoriasis medicines

This group mainly includes skin care products. Such funds are intended only for symptomatic care (i.e. care for the “visible part” of psoriasis, without correcting metabolic processes, etc.) – they do not treat the psoriasis process in the whole body. It is recommended to choose fragrance-free skin moisturizers.

Shampoos for psoriasis

Various shampoos containing salicylic acid, urea, resin and corticosteroids are used for scalp care. Resin-containing shampoos reduce skin flaking, moisturize the skin, prevent its thickening and reduce itching. Shampoos containing salicylic acid help soften the scalp and remove flakes. Shampoos containing corticosteroids are used briefly to reduce swelling or redness.

Psoriasis soap

It is recommended to avoid detergents that are too aggressive to avoid drying and irritating the skin.

Psoriasis Skin Care

Lipids (the intercellular binder in the skin) are one of the most important constituents of the skin, but conventional cleansers tend to degrease the skin, disrupting the development of the skin’s unique microbial population (the microbiome) which, along with the immune system, provides stability protective barrier of the skin and protects the body from the environment. When caring for the skin, it is important to avoid injury to the skin and not to destroy the protective barrier.

The skin of patients with psoriasis is dry, scaly, contains many viruses. The presence of scales contributes to the development of a psoriatic rash. You should wash yourself with therapeutic cosmetics that spare the fat layer of the skin – they do not destroy it, but cleanse and improve it. After washing, the skin should always be moisturized with products prescribed by a dermatologist – cream, lotion, etc.

Care of nails affected by psoriasis

Nail damage is possible in 80% of patients. Nails are recommended to be cut as short as possible to avoid the appearance of fungus under the exfoliated nail. It is necessary to use gentle detergents, after washing the hands, it is always necessary to apply a moisturizer or lotion. Unsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamins A, D are important for nail health.

Ointments, creams and lotions for psoriasis

There are three active stages in the process of psoriasis:

  • The appearance of a new, bright red rash, among which large scales appear (progressive stage),
  • The rash stabilizes and the surface is covered with smaller scales (stationary stage),
  • The rash deepens, the scales decrease and take the form of rings (regressive stage).

Appropriate topical agents must be used for each stage. For the progressive stage, these are water-based creams and liquids, for the stationary stage, thicker creams and pastes, and for the progressive stage, fatty creams and ointments. These preparations serve as the main masses to which active medicines are added:

  • Salicylic acid is used in combination with other treatments as it removes scales, allowing the drug to penetrate deeper layers. It is offered in concentrations from 2% to 10% and in different forms, and is allowed for use if the area of ​​​​psoriatic lesions does not exceed 20%, since in high doses it can have a toxic effect. Not suitable for diabetics.
  • Lactic acid is a keratolytic – a substance that removes large horny formations (dead cells). It is used to exfoliate scales. Alternative product if more than 20% of the skin area needs to be covered, or for diabetic patients.
  • Corticosteroids are widely used to treat localized psoriatic rashes, as they constrict blood vessels, suppress inflammation and itching, and slow cell reproduction.
  • The action of resin preparations is based on the suppression of cell growth. Most often, such preparations contain birch tar (Oleum Rusci) and pine tar (Pixliquida), less often coal tar (Pixlithanthracis).
  • The action of the synthesized vitamin D3 (calcitriol, calcipotriol) is based on the effect on the immune system and a decrease in the reproduction of keratinocytes.
  • Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus (topical calcineurin inhibitors) are effective in the treatment of psoriasis on the face, neck, genitals, folds. The drugs do not cause muscle relaxation, so they are suitable for long-term use.
  • Magnipsor ointment does not contain hormonal additives and toxic substances. The active substances are mineral components, Dead Sea salt, salicylic acid, tea tree, pumpkin, sea buckthorn oils, burdock root extract, etc.

The choice of remedy depends on the rash in a specific area of ​​the body.

Traditional methods and natural remedies for psoriasis

Always consult a dermatologist before using any natural preparations, as in combination with the medications taken, they can cause unwanted reactions. The effect of these drugs has not been proven, and it must be taken into account that natural remedies can also cause allergic reactions.

  • Aloe – has properties that reduce redness and peeling.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – used by ancient cultures as a disinfectant, may help relieve itchy scalp.
  • Chile pepper contains capsaicin – it blocks the nerve endings responsible for the conduction of the pain signal. Products containing it can reduce pain, inflammation, redness, peeling.
  • Bath with Dead Sea salt dissolved in warm water can remove scales and reduce itching in 15 minutes. After taking a bath, apply a moisturizer to the skin.
  • Oats are considered the best natural skin soothing agent. A bath with oats in water can reduce itching and redness.
  • Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties. Shampoos containing it fight the manifestations of psoriasis on the scalp.
  • Turmeric or yellow ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin, which is part of it, can counter flare-ups of psoriasis. Turmeric can be used in capsules, in concentrated form, or added to food (various curry dishes, etc.).
  • Flax seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and other important nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids improve the functioning of the immune system and skin condition. They are essential fatty acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own and can only be taken in through food. Omega-3s are also found in hemp seeds, walnuts, leafy greens, and various fish.

Diet for psoriasis

Psoriasis is associated with lipid (fat), carbohydrate (sugar) and sometimes gluten (grain) metabolism problems caused by inborn changes in metabolism (gene disorders).

Metabolism begins with the release of digestive enzymes (enzymes), the interaction of the totality of microbes (microbiome) of the intestinal tract with the body, the absorption of nutrients by the body. Energy is needed to process substances and use them in processes.

If the characteristics of the body, digestion and metabolism are not studied, it is recommended to eat small portions at least 4 times a day. It is recommended to use unsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3, etc.), B vitamins, vitamin D. In case of psoriasis, you should stop eating easily digestible carbohydrates – white bread, potatoes. Alcohol, nicotine and preservatives harm the flora of the intestinal tract – moderate consumption of probiotic bacteria or probiotics (cultures of living organisms that favorably affect the digestive tract) is recommended to care for it.

Acupuncture for psoriasis

Acupuncture is widely used to treat psoriasis in China and other Asian countries. During therapy, a needle is inserted into the skin, with a diameter no larger than the hair of the head. As a result of the injection, adenosine, endorphins, serotonin and other substances with analgesic properties are released in the body, so this method can be used for psoriatic arthritis.

Influence of the seasons on psoriasis

When the external temperature changes, the metabolism also changes, and the skin begins to lack fatty acids, and the skin’s protective barrier is weakened. As soon as there is a lack of vitamin D in the skin, it becomes drier, recovers worse and is more susceptible to environmental influences – prerequisites for an outbreak of chronic skin diseases (dermatoses) appear.

Heating in the winter season, artificial ventilation, the need for clothing, sweating, being in a crowd with different microflora impair the physiology and self-regulation of the skin. With the advent of spring, the skin barrier becomes weaker than in autumn, and it is easily overcome by spring allergens – flowering trees, pollen, grasses.

In a small percentage of patients with psoriasis (up to 20%), the skin condition worsens from UV rays. The summer type of psoriasis is characterized by a lack of antioxidants that could protect the skin from increased free radicals resulting from sun exposure and rashes in sun-exposed areas.

Being aware of the exacerbations caused by the change of seasons, the manifestations of the disease can be controlled by relaxing in the resorts.

Psoriasis resorts or balneotherapy

The beneficial effects of climatherapy throughout the world have been described for over 200 years, and are associated with certain geographical regions and specific places located in them. The effect of spa therapy is primarily associated with the ability to relax from daily stress and avoid factors that worsen the condition of the skin (for example, dry air due to central heating). It is also possible to adjust the mode and rhythm of food.

Certain procedures can replenish the amount of water in the skin, exfoliate old skin, slow down cell reproduction and defective cell cycles.

The most important resort for the treatment of psoriasis is the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth (360 m below sea level), it has a high concentration of natural minerals, and mineral vapors filter out narrow spectrum UVB rays (as in phototherapy). Studies have shown that patients who sunbathe and bathe in the Dead Sea salts experience an improvement in psoriasis in 83% of cases, those who only sunbathe – in 73% of cases, and those who only bathe in the Dead Sea – in 28% of cases.

Balneotherapy (a set of various therapeutic actions aimed at moisturizing dry skin) has a special place in the long-term treatment of psoriasis, but is not recommended for patients with increased photosensitivity (summer type of psoriasis) and diseases with a high risk of skin cancer. This type of therapy is not used for acute treatment or short-term therapy.

Prevention of psoriasis

In order to avoid exacerbation or development of skin disease, many factors must be taken into account, both lifestyle changes and different activities:

  • Physical activity (exercise, etc.),
  • Holiday resorts,
  • Avoid stress,
  • Limit coffee, cocoa, alcoholic beverages and smoking,
  • Thoughtful nutrition (avoid too fatty foods),
  • Avoid hypothermia,
  • Restrict the use of household chemicals and cosmetics,
  • Improve metabolism (drink more fluids, etc. ),
  • Monitor vitamin D, folic acid and lipids by a physician,
  • Consume Omega 3/6,
  • And other actions prescribed by the treating dermatologist.

Is psoriasis curable?

No, because medicine has not yet found a way to change the human genetic code. The disappearance of the rash means the suspension of the disease process. An experienced doctor can help choose the most suitable lifestyle (diet, exercise, skin care) and the necessary treatment regimen for the patient’s metabolic characteristics.

Early diagnosis and correct lifestyle, skin care and therapy prolong life (statistics show that patients with psoriasis who develop the disease in childhood find it difficult to reach the age of 60, mainly due to diseases of the circulatory system ).

Where to treat psoriasis?

The human skin is its largest organ, and proper care of it prevents the further development of the disease (pathological process). Symptoms of psoriasis initially appear on the skin. The functional state of the skin and nails is directly related to the course of therapy (both local and internal), the effectiveness of which is evaluated by a skin expert – a dermatologist.

The treatment of psoriasis is very difficult. It is not diagnostics (determining the type of scaly lichen) that makes it difficult, but precisely its understanding and consideration of patterns. Only highly qualified doctors can recognize patterns after analyzing the data.

The doctors of our clinic have knowledge of the microsymptoms of the disease (small, hardly noticeable and previously unrelated symptoms), which allows them to recognize the disease already at the initial stage. In the process of treatment, doctors determine the relationship of a skin disease with the body, its activities and metabolic disorders. Our specialists are also well versed in the features of scaly lichen in children.

In 2013 in Latvia, developed under the guidance of prof. J. Kisis first guidelines for psoriasis ( for explanations of the guidelines, see the beginning of article ). In 2016, Professor J. Kisis participated in the development of guidelines for the use of biological agents in the treatment of psoriasis. The clinic has participated in many clinical trials (full list here), of which 6 were related to psoriasis.

Professor J. Kisis is the leading Latvian specialist in psoriasis, and the latest information about innovations in the treatment of psoriasis around the world is always available at the clinic.

The doctor diagnosed me with psoriasis. What to do? — Meduza


What is psoriasis? Is this a skin disease?

Not exactly. Psoriasis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that predominantly affects the skin, accelerating the life cycle of its cells. At the same time, it is not the skin itself that “gets sick”, but the human immune system: one of the main types of cells that protect the body from microbes and bacteria – T-lymphocytes – by mistake attack healthy skin cells. In response, the body produces new skin cells very quickly. When a person is healthy, they need about three to four weeks to mature, migrate to the surface and exfoliate there, making room for new ones. With psoriasis, this process is accelerated and not fully matured cells appear on the surface in just four days. But we cannot get rid of them at such a speed. Therefore, while new skin cells are being produced, old ones accumulate on top of each other. Raised, red, scaly patches appear on the skin that itch, and this is how psoriasis manifests itself. We made these cards together with the LEO Pharma company, which produces over-the-counter drugs for the treatment of psoriasis: Daivonex®, Daivobet® and Xamiol®.


Why do people get psoriasis?

Nobody knows for sure. The reasons why some people have psoriasis and not others are not completely known to scientists. So far, we can say that genetic predisposition plays a role in the development of psoriasis. In addition, provoking factors include smoking, alcohol abuse, skin injuries (burns, cuts or scratches), infections, and even stress.


Seriously, can psoriasis be caused by stress?

Scientists don’t know for sure. It is believed that stress causes the immune system to produce a large number of substances that contribute to skin inflammation. And this leads to the development or exacerbation of the disease. That is why doctors recommend that patients with psoriasis learn to control stress, for example through meditation and breathing exercises. But the results of available studies are conflicting, the relationship between stress and psoriasis has yet to be better understood.


Is it impossible to get psoriasis?

No. In the Middle Ages, psoriasis was often confused with leprosy, and people with scaly plaques on their skin were considered lepers. Fortunately, we are no longer in the Middle Ages. Science knows that psoriasis is not an infectious disease. They cannot be infected: neither from kissing, nor during sexual intercourse, nor by swimming in the same pool – in a word, nothing.


Can psoriasis be cured?

No, but it is possible to improve the condition and control the symptoms. Psoriasis is a chronic disease and treatment (including supportive care) can be lifelong. The main goal is to prevent skin cells from growing so quickly. First of all, doctors usually recommend drugs that contain glucocorticosteroids or vitamin D analogs. They relieve inflammation, reduce itching, and slow down the growth of skin cells. Vitamin D analogues include the drug “Dyvonex®” – it is available in the form of an ointment. Daivonex® does not smell and does not stain the skin and clothes.

In mild to moderate psoriasis, this is often enough to bring the disease into remission. If the treatment does not help, then the next step may be phototherapy, when a person’s skin is irradiated with a certain type of ultraviolet radiation under the supervision of a dermatologist. And for moderate and severe psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic therapy is usually used. The patient may be given retinoids, immunosuppressive drugs, or biologics.


Are glucocorticosteroids hormones? Aren’t they dangerous?

These are hormones. If you do not self-medicate and follow the doctor’s recommendations, then the benefits from them will be much greater than the harm. Abuse of drugs containing glucocorticosteroids can lead to thinning of the skin. If everything is done correctly, then with their help you can reduce inflammation and itching.

Vitamin D analogs can be an alternative to glucocorticosteroids, but more often doctors recommend a combination, this approach is considered more effective. So, Daivobet® ointment combines both active ingredients: glucocorticosteroids and vitamin D analogs. It is used to treat psoriasis on the body. And Xamiol® gel. It is used to treat scalp psoriasis. “Xamiol®” can be applied pointwise, it is colorless and odorless, does not leave greasy marks.


Ultraviolet, vitamin D… Maybe you should just sunbathe more often?

Exposure to natural light may improve psoriasis. And earlier, exposure to the sun combined with bathing in sea water was used as a treatment. Now phototherapy is used for psoriasis and ordinary tanning is not considered a treatment method. Plus, sunscreen is highly recommended.


They say that if you have psoriasis, you need to follow a diet. This is true?

No, diet will not help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. But a doctor can still advise a person with psoriasis on a diet to cope, for example, with being overweight or obese (when the body mass index is greater than or equal to 25), celiac disease.


Clear. Maybe try folk remedies?

You decide. The only time-tested remedy is tar. It can be found in shampoos, ointments and shower gels. But it has its drawbacks: it smells unpleasant and leaves marks on clothes. But taking various herbal decoctions and rubbing the skin with them has no proven benefit. It is much more useful to know about the rules of hygiene and the importance of moisturizing the skin in psoriasis.


And how to properly care for the skin with psoriasis?

Normally, the stratum corneum of our skin, composed of dead skin cells and lipids, protects it from moisture loss and infection. Due to the fact that in psoriasis the cells are on the surface faster than the skin can shed them, this barrier function is impaired. The skin loses moisture and becomes dry. Therefore, hydration and exfoliation are important in home care.

In addition to using moisturizing lotions, creams and balms, there are a few basic rules that will help you organize your daily life a little. The first is not to spend a lot of time in the water. The American Dermatological Association recommends showering no longer than five minutes and taking a bath no longer than 15 minutes. The temperature of the water is also important – too hot can further break the skin barrier, so the water should be warm. As a means for washing and washing, you should choose soft moisturizing products and avoid scrubs.