While over-the-counter treatments abound for eczema and psoriasis, consulting a board-certified dermatologist can be immensely helpful, too, especially when the drugstore options just aren’t cutting it.
That’s because these itchy, inflamed skin conditions often stem from internal factors that can be better served by medications than moisturizers and cleansers. In mild, localized instances, topical treatments can be effective. But medications go another step, targeting the systems that are making you have an inflammatory response in the first place. Which makes them the more sensible solution for those who have large areas that can’t easily be covered using a topical treatment.
It’s not necessarily an either-or situation, though.
Usually, the most successful treatments for moderate to severe cases of psoriasis are some combination of medication and the right cleaner and moisturizer.
As for the nature of the medications, increasingly, dermatologists are turning to biologics, which are drug products that are either made from living organisms or contain components of them. They’re derived from a host of natural sources, so their applications are wide-ranging. Where skin conditions are concerned, their potential is enormous.
Psoriasis, specifically, responds remarkably well to biologics and, typically, with minimal side effects. Older medications often prompted a number of unwanted side effects. Overall, they also weren’t all that effective. At their best, they merely dulled physical symptoms.
Biologics, by contrast, are addressing skin conditions at their root by acting on specific targets in the immune system that have been shown to be causing factors in skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Consequently, they lower the extra inflammation that’s created by our own immune systems.
Impressive as their results have been, and continue to be, biologics are not a cure for eczema and psoriasis. They are, however, very much a viable option for those with extreme or otherwise stubborn cases that refuse to back down to over-the-counter topical treatments.
For those with milder symptoms, you should be able to find relief from your symptoms in the skincare aisle of your drugstore. Filter the array of products by their ability to moisturize without further agitating your condition. You’re aiming to restore your fragile skin barrier, which defends your body and its water balance.
Look for gentle, nonstop cleansers that hydrate the skin and a moisturizer that’s light and easy to spread. If you don’t see a marked difference after a few weeks, think about scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist.