February 23, 2024
Discover the best over-the-counter medicines for psoriasis management! Our expert review analyzes the top 5 OTC medicines, their effectiveness, and user reviews. Learn how to seek dermatologists' advice and which OTC medicines offer fast relief.


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin, characterized by red, itchy, and scaly patches. It can also cause joint pain and inflammation. Living with psoriasis can be challenging and may affect a person’s daily activities and quality of life. While there is no cure for psoriasis, it is possible to manage its symptoms with the help of medications. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are easy to access and provide relief from psoriasis symptoms. In this article, we will discuss the best over-the-counter medicines for psoriasis.

Top 5 Over-the-Counter Medicines for Managing Psoriasis Symptoms

To effectively manage psoriasis symptoms, the following are the top qualities to look for in OTC medicines:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Relieves itching and flakiness
  • Provides long-lasting effects
  • Easy to use and apply
  • Improves skin’s appearance and texture

Here are the top 5 OTC medicines for psoriasis based on their effectiveness and user reviews:

1. Coal tar shampoo and ointment

Coal tar shampoo and ointment have been around for decades and are widely recommended by dermatologists. They work by slowing down skin cell growth and reducing inflammation. Coal tar shampoo is effective in treating psoriasis on the scalp, while coal tar ointment works well for other affected areas. It may cause skin irritation in some people and may not be suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

2. Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a widely used OTC medication for psoriasis. It helps remove scaly plaques and reduce inflammation. Salicylic acid is found in many topical creams, ointments, and shampoos. It may cause skin irritation or dryness and is therefore not recommended for people with sensitive skin or with large skin areas affected by psoriasis.

3. Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel is a natural anti-inflammatory and moisturizing agent that helps reduce itching, inflammation, and redness. Applying aloe vera gel to the affected skin can help soothe psoriasis symptoms. It is a safe and affordable option, but its effectiveness may vary for each person.

4. Oatmeal bath

An oatmeal bath is a natural remedy that can relieve itching and redness caused by psoriasis. Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory compounds that help soothe the skin and moisturize it. Soaking in an oatmeal bath also hydrates the skin and reduces topical medication usage. It is a safe and low-cost option that can be done from the comfort of your own home.

5. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, containing fish oil or flaxseed oil, are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. They can reduce inflammation and skin irritation, improve skin’s flexibility, and enhance skin repair. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are widely available but may cause allergic reactions in some people. It is important to consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.

A Comprehensive Review of the Best OTC Treatments for Psoriasis

There are various types of OTC medications available to manage psoriasis symptoms. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the top OTC treatments:

1. Moisturizers

Moisturizers help keep the skin hydrated and reduce itching and scaling. They can also enhance topical medication absorption. Look for moisturizers labeled as “fragrance-free,” “hypoallergenic,” and “for sensitive skin” to avoid potentially irritating ingredients. Recommended brands include Cetaphil, Aveeno, and Eucerin.

2. Medicated shampoos

Medicated shampoos are an effective way to treat psoriasis on the scalp. They contain active ingredients, such as coal tar, salicylic acid, and ketoconazole, that can reduce itching and scaling, and slow skin cell growth. Some of the recommended brands include Neutrogena T/Gel, Nizoral, and MG217 Psoriasis Shampoo.

3. Steroid creams and ointments

Steroid creams and ointments are anti-inflammatory medications that can reduce redness, itching, and scaling of psoriasis plaques. They work by reducing inflammation and slowing the growth of skin cells. They are available in different strengths and can be used for mild to moderate psoriasis. However, they may cause skin thinning and other side effects when used excessively or for a prolonged period. Recommended brands include Hydrocortisone, Triamcinolone, and Betamethasone.

Psoriasis Relief at Your Fingertips: OTC Medicines That Actually Work

OTC medicines can provide relief from psoriasis symptoms, but they may not work for everyone. Additionally, although some OTC medicines may be effective, they may not be as potent as prescription medications. Therefore, it is important to talk to a dermatologist about the best treatment options for you. Here’s a closer look at the different types of relief that OTC medicines provide:

1. Topical treatments

Topical treatments are applied directly to the skin and include shampoos, creams, lotions, and gels. They may contain active ingredients, such as corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs, and retinoids. They are easy to use and provide localized relief. However, they may not be effective for severe psoriasis, and frequent application may be needed.

2. Oral medications

Oral medications are taken by mouth and include prescription drugs, supplements, and OTC medicines. They may contain active ingredients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and turmeric. Oral medications work systemically and may have side effects or interact with other medications. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking any oral medication.

3. Combination therapy

Combination therapy involves using two or more medications to treat psoriasis. For example, a topical medication may be combined with an oral medication for more effective results. Combination therapy may provide faster and better relief than using a single medication. However, it may also increase the risk of side effects and drug interactions.

Are OTC Medications Effective for Treating Psoriasis? A Deep Dive into the Research

OTC medications can provide effective relief from psoriasis symptoms. However, it is important to note that research in this area is limited. Most studies focus on prescription drugs rather than OTC options. Furthermore, OTC treatment effectiveness may vary depending on the severity of psoriasis, personal factors, and the type of medication used.

Studies have shown that coal tar, salicylic acid, and aloe vera gel can be effective in managing mild to moderate psoriasis. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to reduce inflammation and improve skin texture. Compared to prescription drugs, OTC medications may not be as potent, and their results may take longer to appear.

Expert-Recommended OTC Psoriasis Medicines That Offer Fast Relief

Dermatologists may recommend OTC medications to treat mild to moderate psoriasis. Here are the top OTC medications recommended by dermatologists:

1. CeraVe SA Cream for Rough and Bumpy Skin

CeraVe SA Cream contains salicylic acid, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid that help exfoliate and moisturize the skin. It is suitable for dry and rough skin and can improve skin texture and hydration. It is also affordable and available at most drugstores.

2. MG217 Psoriasis Cream

MG217 Psoriasis Cream contains coal tar, salicylic acid, and other active ingredients that can reduce itching, scaling, and inflammation. It is easy to use and provides fast relief from psoriasis symptoms. It is available in most drugstores and is relatively affordable.

3. Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo

Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo contains salicylic acid and zinc complex that can relieve scalp psoriasis symptoms. It works by reducing itching, shedding, and scaling of the scalp. It is safe for most hair types and can be used daily.


Psoriasis can be a challenging condition to manage, but OTC medications can provide effective relief from its symptoms. From coal tar to omega-3 fatty acid supplements, there are many OTC options to choose from. Consulting with a dermatologist can help determine which OTC medication can work best for you. Remember that OTC medications may not provide a complete solution for psoriasis and that seeking professional help and guidance is essential for better treatment and management.

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