Signs Your OTC Psoriasis Treatments Aren’t Working Anymore

Psoriasis affects about 3% of the US population and is thought to occur due to an overactive immune system. The underlying causes, however, are unclear. Patients with psoriasis will experience pink to red, raised plaques with overlying scaling. Common areas of involvement are the scalp, elbows, and knees, but any body part can be affected.

Mild forms of psoriasis can respond to over-the-counter (OTC) therapies such as topical steroids, emollients, or even creams that contain coal tar or salicylic acid. However, if your skin continues to be red and scaly despite regular use of these topicals for several weeks, it is time to see your dermatologist. A dermatologist can prescribe stronger topical therapies and provide in-office treatments, like phototherapy or intralesional injections for persistent plaques. For patients with large areas of involvement or difficult-to-treat areas such as the scalp or the hands and feet, an injectable medication called a “biologic” can clear the skin.

One of the MOST important reasons you should see a dermatologist if you have psoriasis, even if your disease is mild, is that inflammation caused by psoriasis can impact other organs and tissues. One in three people with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis will present with joint swelling, stiffness, and pain. It is important to diagnose early to prevent permanent joint damage. Psoriatic arthritis is largely treated with systemic medication prescribed by your dermatologist or rheumatologist. If you experience any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with us!