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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Treating Psoriasis on Your Face

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Psoriasis on your face is different than on other parts of your body. Your skin there is thinner and may be more sensitive to treatments. In this area, the condition usually affects your:

  • Eyebrows
  • Skin between your nose and upper lip
  • Upper forehead
  • Hairline

You have a lot of options for treating psoriasis in these areas. Work closely with your doctor to find what works best for you.

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Psoriasis Medications for Your Face

There are a few main types of treatments specifically for facial psoriasis. The type you use depends on which part of your face is affected. Your doctor may prescribe just one or a mixture of them, including:

  • Low-potency corticosteroids, which are ointments, creams, lotions, or sprays that reduce redness and swelling. Doctors usually prescribe them for just a few weeks at a time. If you use them for longer, they can make your skin thin, shiny, bruise easily, or give it stretch marks.
  • Synthetic vitamin D, such as calcipotriene (Dovonex) ointment or cream, slows the growth of skin cells. But it can also irritate your face. Calcitriol (Vectical) is a newer vitamin D drug for psoriasis that some studies suggest may be better for sensitive skin.
  • Retinoids, such as tazarotene gel (Tazorac), help remove scales and may ease inflammation. But skin irritation is a possible side effect.

Tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) are two drugs the FDA has approved for eczema, a different skin condition. Some dermatologists recommend these drugs for psoriasis on the face. But talk to your doctor about whether you need these medicines. The FDA says people should use them only for a short time, since some studies have linked the drugs to cancer risks.

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