This story is part of Survivor’s Guide, a series on navigating the impact of psoriasis through beauty and self-care.
Before we dive into the best creams for psoriasis, it’s crucial to note that these over-the-counter moisturizers — as soothing and smartly formulated as they may be — won’t be a cure-all for severe cases of the chronic, inflammatory skin condition. For the unfamiliar, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects approximately two to three percent of the American population and, according to Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, is primarily managed with prescriptions from dermatologists. “Depending on the severity of the condition, prescriptions range from topicals to oral medications to injectables,” she says.
Robert Finney, MD, a fellow board-certified dermatologist in New York City, can’t stress enough the importance of seeing a physician if you develop symptoms consistent with psoriasis — such as flaky red patches of thickened skin — as this way you can determine which treatment option will be best for you. “It’s a condition that often requires prescription medications,” he tells Allure. “In some cases, it can also involve the joints, which can lead to irreversible joint damage, so seeing an expert is always in your best interest.”
So where exactly do over-the-counter (OTC) creams come into play? Well, as Dr. Marchbein explains, “over-the-counter products can help with mild cases of the disease, or in conjunction with prescriptions.” Formula-wise, both experts recommend looking for products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides, as these can all aid in softening scales, minimizing flaking, and alleviating itchiness.
To find out which OTC psoriasis creams reign supreme, we tapped into the knowledge of the aforementioned dermatologists, as well as other experts on the subject, to get their top recommendations. Scroll for their favorites — many of which can be found at your local drugstore.