For Those With Psoriasis, These Are The Best OTC Creams To Try According To A Derm

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While countless lotions and moisturizers claim to be the best creams for psoriasis, shoppers know that, in actuality, most of them fall short. That's why Bustle reached out to Ted Lain, a board-certified dermatologist with Sanova Dermatology, and according to Dr. Lain, a good psoriasis cream is all about what you want it to do and the ingredients: "Psoriasis is a disease orchestrated by the immune system in which the skin's cells proliferate, or grow, very quickly, resulting in red and scaling patches. Creams help through various mechanisms including exfoliation (removing the scale), moisturizing (reducing roughness and possibly itching and burning), and slowing cell growth (reducing the size of the patches)."

"Salicylic acid and coal tar are the primary ingredients that dermatologists recommend in OTC products," Dr. Lain wrote, with salicylic acid working as an exfoliant and coal tar slowing down skin cell growth. And in addition to the active ingredients a cream should contain, you should also pay attention to the things it shouldn't. Since irritating additives could worsen a psoriasis flare-up, it's important to check the bottle for anything that could prompt sensitivities. While this largely depends on the person, common skin irritants include fragrance and denatured alcohol.

Dr. Lain also pointed out that psoriasis is "not just limited to the skin," and those with psoriasis should "mention this to their primary care doctor, since the psoriasis is a risk factor for so many other important conditions."

According to both Dr. Lain's advice and reviewer feedback, these are the three most effective psoriasis creams on the market.

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The Overall Best Cream For Psoriasis

With hundreds of five-star reviews, this one is obviously a fan favorite, but it's also Dr. Lain's top pick when it comes to psoriasis creams:

"CeraVe Psoriasis moisturizing cream contains 2% salicylic acid in a moisturizing and soothing cream," Dr. Lain wrote. "The salicylic acid helps to gently remove the scales, while the three essential ceramides and other hydrating and moisturizing ingredients help to protect and repair the skin. Finally, the inclusion of niacinamide provides support to the barrier function of the skin, meaning that it allows the skin to retain the moisture being applied in the cream, keeping it soft and smooth."

All of these helpful ingredients come in a handy pump bottle, which helps to reduce messes and makes for easy, one-handed application. And since 8 ounces costs roughly $20, it's still one of the more affordable options on the market, all of which is why so many people love it.

One reviewer wrote: "I really wish I would have taken a before photo — WOW! In less than 1 month, the moderate psoriasis on my legs is almost completely gone! I am truly amazed. If you have psoriasis, you absolutely must try this! Thank you, CeraVe!"


The Best Psoriasis Cream With Coal Tar

"Psoriasin Deep Moisturizing Ointment contains 2% coal tar in a petrolatum base, meaning that it is very moisturizing and adherent," wrote Dr. Lain. While the coal tar aims to slow down excessive skin cell production, the petroleum creates a barrier that locks in moisture for hours.

Even though reviewers report that it's concentrated and effective, a 4.2-ounce tube will cost you just $10. And happy buyers have called it a "miracle product" and the "best stuff [they] have found."

One reviewer wrote: "After years of Grenz Rays, injections, Enbrel, pills, topical steroids and every other possible cure, I have finally found something that works on my psoriasis, which I have had since the age of 18."


A Travel-Friendly Option Made With Traditional Herbs

Most psoriasis creams require reapplication throughout the day, so a big, clunky bottle likely isn't ideal for those on the go, and with Cherioll's psoriasis cream, each order comes with two travel-friendly tubes.

A study found that Oxymatrine, an active component in Sophora flavescens, significantly lessens inflammation, itching, and redness for those with psoriasis. Cherioll's psoriasis cream contains Sophora flavescens among other traditional herbs (like Stemona japonica, Cnidium, and menthol) to offer deep hydration and healing. Currently, it has a 4.4-star rating and nearly 1,000 reviews.

One reviewer wrote: "I love the smell, how it spreads once melted in hands and absorbs to moisturize my skin. I've never seen my skin in this good condition in a long time. Also, the travel size bottle is super convenient so I can take it to work with me so I can treat myself while I'm out of the house."

Studies referenced:

Chen, Q. (2017) Investigating the potential of Oxymatrine as a psoriasis therapy. Chemico-Biological Interactions Journal,