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How effective is coal tar in removing dead skin produced by psoriasis?

ANSWER

Coal tar is a smelly, sticky substance that has been used to treat psoriasis for more than 100 years. Like exfoliating acids, it also causes you to shed the outer layer of dead skin. It can also reduce the inflammation and itching of psoriasis.

It comes in variety of forms, such as soaps, creams, and lotions. Coal tar can stain your clothing. It also makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Studies show it works best in people who are also taking steroids for their skin.

SOURCES:

James Swan, MD, professor of dermatology, Loyola University Medical Center.

Dominic Ricci, MD, dermatologist, Baylor Scott & White Health.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Questions and Answers About Psoriasis.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Over-the-Counter (OTC) Topicals,” “Herbal and Natural Remedies.”

Jacobi, A. , March 2015. Dermatology and Therapy

Akamine, K. , August 2013. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

American Academy of Dermatology: “Psoriasis: Recommendations for Coal Tar,” “Psoriasis: Recommendations for salicyclic acid.”

DermNet New Zealand: “Salicylic acid.”

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: “Scalp Psoriasis.”

American Family Physician: “Treatment of Psoriasis: An Algorithm-Based Approach for Primary Care Physicians.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on October 27, 2016

SOURCES:

James Swan, MD, professor of dermatology, Loyola University Medical Center.

Dominic Ricci, MD, dermatologist, Baylor Scott & White Health.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Questions and Answers About Psoriasis.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Over-the-Counter (OTC) Topicals,” “Herbal and Natural Remedies.”

Jacobi, A. , March 2015. Dermatology and Therapy

Akamine, K. , August 2013. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

American Academy of Dermatology: “Psoriasis: Recommendations for Coal Tar,” “Psoriasis: Recommendations for salicyclic acid.”

DermNet New Zealand: “Salicylic acid.”

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: “Scalp Psoriasis.”

American Family Physician: “Treatment of Psoriasis: An Algorithm-Based Approach for Primary Care Physicians.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on October 27, 2016

NEXT QUESTION:

What is the best way to lock in moisture to remove dead skin produced by psoriasis?

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