Can This Topical Cream Treat Psoriasis?

Your skin is always renewing itself. Dead skin cells fall away, and new ones take their place. For most people, this process takes about a month.

But for people with psoriasis, it can happen in just a few days.

This accelerates the growth of skin cells and leads to raised, red patches of skin covered with thick, flaky silver-white scales.

Psoriasis can be a nuisance at best and downright disabling at worst. It is a chronic condition with no known cure, and long-term treatments are often necessary to manage the symptoms.

Treatment Options for Psoriasis

Many different therapies and treatment modalities have been tried and tested for psoriasis, including corticosteroids, vitamin D supplements, and phototherapy.

Corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed treatment for psoriasis. They primarily help to reduce the inflammation associated with the condition. But corticosteroids can sometimes provoke some bad side effects, especially when used for an extended period.

That’s why many people with psoriasis are looking for alternative treatments that are safer and more effective for long-term use.

Topical Retinoids for Psoriasis

Retinoids are a class of drugs that are derived from vitamin A. They are often used to treat acne and cosmetic skin troubles related to wrinkles and other signs of aging.

They also appear to be useful in the treatment and management of psoriasis.

Retinoids can be used as an oral medication or a topical cream. The topical one that you apply directly onto your skin is called tazarotene (also known by the brand name Tazorac).

This medication is FDA-approved for treating psoriasis and is available by prescription only.

How Tazarotene Works

Retinoids like tazarotene work by interfering with the accelerated skin cell turnover that is characteristic of psoriasis.

They slow down the hyperproduction of new skin cells while also promoting the shedding of dead skin cells. In this way, retinoids help to regulate the skin cell cycle and reduce the redness, scaling, and thickness of psoriasis patches.

It also appears to improve the skin’s light sensitivity, making it more responsive to phototherapy treatments. Phototherapy and retinoid treatments are typically used together for maximum benefit.

Side Effects and Risks of Tazarotene

Tazarotene is generally safe and well tolerated, but some people may experience skin irritation, dryness, or redness when they first use it. It may also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so it’s important to use sunscreen and limit your time in the sun while you’re using this medication.

If you are pregnant, you should not use tazarotene, as it could potentially harm the developing fetus. Similarly, you should not give blood while taking this medication, as it could potentially harm someone else if they receive your blood transfusion.

If you have any questions or concerns about taking tazarotene for psoriasis, be sure to talk to your doctor. They may recommend other treatment options if they feel this isn’t the right medication.