In common with around 7 million Americans Psoriasis is a skin condition which runs in our family. Although as you all know it can appear on just about any part of the body we seem to have a predisposition to developing Psoriasis on our lower legs, one of the most common locations.
Whilst working on this site I came across hundreds of articles extolling the virtues of this cream or that cream which were in the end just plain confusing. I realised that I was in a good position to conduct my own ‘clinical trial’ of some of the most popular products available ‘over the counter’ with the help of my own extended family and some friends who also suffer to a greater or lesser degree with Psoriasis.
Whilst completely unscientific or ‘controlled’ in a way that official medical or drug company trials are, I thought that it would help others out there who suffer from this condition to at least have access to real life experiences with Psoriasis creams, after all you cannot really have too much information, the worse thing that could happen was that we found out which creams or product worked best for us without having to work through the whole lot ourselves.
Our main criteria in judging the effectiveness of the creams was that they should:
1. Remove scales.
2. Relieve itching and irritation whilst at the same time not leaving the skin too dry.
3. Reduce as far as possible the redness to the skin of the affected area.
Here is a very brief summary of our experiences with some of the most popular Psoriasis treatments out there, in no order of effectiveness or preference:
Priced at around $13 this is one of the more traditional preparations which uses coal tar as an ingredient. In some circles seen as a bit ‘old fashioned’ or unscientific we found that the product worked very well for us. Being quite a thick cream it is best not to use it near the hairline or on the scalp, but this definitely reduced the above target symptoms after being used for a short time without the tell tale coal tar smell left by the more regular soap bars. With long term regular use we were confident that the product would be effective in significantly reducing our Psoriasis.
Widely available for around $6 for a small tube this is NOT suitable for long term use, or is it any good for larger areas of the body. Being a form of steroid, Hydrocortisone is ideal for short term, concentrated, use on a small, stubborn patch of Psoriasis. We found it o.k for this but not really needed as some of the more regular treatments were more than adequate in reducing our symptoms. If you do have a really stubborn patch of Psoriasis this could be worth keeping in the bathroom drawer for occasional ‘firefighting’ duties!
Priced at around $27 for a smallish tube we included this one as a representative of our ‘natures remedies’ section. The cream contains ingredients such as Aloe, Lavender, Palm Acid and Olive Oil in addition to Manuka Honey and claims to reduce the effects of Eczema and Psoriasis on the jar so we gave it go. Well we have to say that it didn’t work for us, in fact our Psoriasis actually worsened whilst we were leaving off our normal products. Our verdict is, if you want a high class moisturizer full of natural ingredients that smells wonderful this would fit the bill perfectly. You certainly feel pampered using the product but there are better products out there for the treatment of Psoriasis. This is just our opinion, Amazon reviews have some positive user experience.
This cream is one of the most expensive we found at $40 plus. Therefore we expected a lot from it. This particular cream smells quite pleasant and contains salicyclic acid at 2% as the active ingredient. None of our testers thought this was worth paying so much more than the other creams we tested although the skin is left very soft, probably due to the high level of moisturisers and oils included. It is non greasy and if you want to splash out on a high end cream with a big brand name then go ahead. We cannot say it does not work well as it does, but there are cheaper options.
One of the more ‘mainstream’ treatments and widely available for around $10, we found Psoriaflora to be moderately successful in controlling our Psoriasis. Although visible flaking was reduced and the redness dulled somewhat we have to say that we achieved better results with some other products. However one of our team of 4 was surprised by this result as they swear by the product and use it regularly. This is an important point which I will deal with below.
Costing around $25 this is another product which uses coal tar as an active ingredient. We found it to be very effective in reducing our target symptoms and with longer term usage we feel confident that the product would be extremely effective. It was non drying and odour free whilst not leaving the skin too dry. The larger tub would last some time too.
Whilst not strictly a Psoriasis ‘cream’ this product caught our eye due to the level of coal tar used. Whilst most creams use 2 to 3% coal tar, this uses 5%, and scalp Psoriasis can be a big problem as it is difficult to treat with cream. This is the maximum concentration of coal tar allowed in the U.S, in fact it we don’t believe that it can be sold in California, so what did we think? One of us had quite bad scalp Psoriasis and volunteered to be the tester. The verdict was, if you follow the instructions to the letter and think that a faint odor of coal tar is a good trade off for a complete solution to your problem then this is the product for you! Even after a couple of applications quite dramatic improvements were noticed and although quite expensive at around $20 per bottle it really does live up to it’s claims. As you really only need to use a little, the bottle should last a long time.
We tried to test a range of products at different price-points for our strictly unscientific test, but one thing is worth a mention. Psoriasis is a condition which although common, is in fact a genetic auto-immune disorder. Therefore where one person may find a great improvement in their condition with one product sometimes another may find it has little or no effect at all. However in the vast majority of cases our symptoms are common enough to benefit from the same treatments so we feel that our little test has been worthwhile. The psoriasis creams we are testing is ongoing so further products will be reviewed on this site in the near future.