10 Creams Anyone With Psoriasis Should Have in Their Stash

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Dealing with any skin condition can be frustrating, but psoriasis may just be one of the most problematic of the bunch. If you do suffer from it, take heart in the fact that you’re not alone; the National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that psoriasis affects 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population.

"This chronic condition stems from an overactive immune system that speeds up the turnover of skin cells," explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum. Simply put, your skin cells start to multiply much more rapidly than they should, sometimes up to 10 times faster than normal. The result? Itchy, scaly red patches on the skin known as plaques, as well as rough, white flaky skin known as scales. And no one really knows why this happens: “It’s thought that psoriasis occurs in patients who are genetically susceptible, but we usually do not know the initial trigger that sets off the rash,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jason Miller.

What we do know is there are ways to help manage it. Cases can range from mild to severe, and it’s important to note that if your psoriasis falls more towards the severe end of the spectrum, it’s important to book an appointment with your derm. “If the plaques have gotten thick, spread to sensitive areas like the genitals, or cover a large part of your body, see your dermatologist,” advises Miller, who notes that there are many therapies including prescription topicals, lasers, and light therapy that can be effective.

The good news? If psoriasis is mild, there are a plethora of OTC options that can help. Keep scrolling for the best creams for psoriasis.

Best for Intense Itch: Curél Curél Hydratherapy Itch Defense Wet Skin Moisturizer

Curél Curél Hydratherapy Itch Defense Wet Skin Moisturizer

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Reduces itch

  • Approved by the National Psoriasis Foundation

  • Approved by the National Eczema Association

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note pump is flimsy

Thanks to oatmeal extract, vitamin E, and a ceramide complex, this goes to town fast, minimizing itch and generally making skin feel better. The formula is water-activated, so you’re meant to slather it on immediately post-shower (which, let’s be real, minimizes the likelihood that you’ll skip it or forget to use it). It’s so great for irritated skin conditions that it has both the National Psoriasis Foundation's Seal of Recognition and the National Eczema Association's Seal of Acceptance.

Active Ingredients: Advanced Ceramide Complex | Skin Type: Dry, itchy | Size: 12 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Gold Bond Ultimate Multi-Symptom Psoriasis Relief Cream

Gold Bond Ultimate Multi-Symptom Psoriasis Relief Cream

Courtesy of GOld Bond

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Breaks down plaques and scale

  • Reduces itch

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky

Itchiness is one (majorly annoying) symptom of psoriasis, which is why this earns top points for helping to tamp down the itch. Plus, it also contains salicylic acid—at the maximum, over-the-counter, 3 percent concentration—to help break down plaques and scale. And since it costs less than lunch, you can go ahead and slather it on with reckless abandon.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid | Skin Type: Dry, itchy | Size: 4 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin: Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Nourishing Balm

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Balm
What We Like
  • Pump bottle

  • Very hydrating

  • Reduces itch

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky

Specially formulated for extremely dry or even atopic (read: extremely dry and red and itchy) skin, this is a top pick for those who have to deal with both dryness and psoriasis. It offers a heavy hit of hydration immediately but also has an exclusive complex that works to repair a damaged skin barrier. And psoriasis-sufferers will appreciate that it is formulated to ease itchiness.

Active Ingredients: Zinc, ceramides, vitamin C | Skin Type: All | Size: 16.7 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Elbows: Dove DermaSeries Fragrance-Free Skin Balm

Dove DermaSeries Fragrance-Free Skin Balm

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-greasy

  • Great for elbows

What We Don't Like
  • Open jar packaging

The elbows are another common spot where psoriasis appears, says Miller. And for that particular area, this balm can't be beaten. It’s creamy enough to address the thicker skin on your elbows; credit a petroleum-jelly blend that’s great for dry skin areas, psoriasis-prone ones included. Still, it absorbs quickly without feeling greasy, so you can even use it in the morning before getting dressed.

Active Ingredients: Petroleum jelly | Skin Type: Dry, eczema-prone | Size: 4.8 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Legs: CeraVe SA Cream For Rough & Bumpy Skin

CeraVe SA Cream For Rough & Bumpy Skin

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Breaks down plaques and scale

  • Lightweight

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don't Like
  • Open jar packaging

Another one of Birnbaum’s go-to's, this also contains salicylic acid, great for reducing those pesky plaques. The addition of lactic acid further boosts its exfoliating prowess, making it a good choice to use on legs to help knock out not only psoriasis but general scaliness, shaving bumps, and more.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid, lactic acid | Skin Type: Dry, rough, bumpy | Sizes: 12 ounces, 16 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Your Torso: ISDIN Uradin Lotion10

Isdin Uradin Lotion10

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Non-greasy

  • Promises 24-hour hydration

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

While urea may not be one of the FDA-approved psoriasis ingredients, Birnbaum says it’s still a good choice: “Moisturizers that include urea are very beneficial for psoriasis as they exfoliate while enhancing the barrier of the skin.” This is one of her favorites, and we especially like it for slathering onto the chest, stomach, and back, areas where you definitely don’t want any kind of lingering greasy residue.

Active Ingredients: Urea, dexpanthenol, emollients | Skin Type: All | Size: 13.5 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: Eucerin Roughness Relief Lotion

Eucerin Roughness Relief Lotion

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Very hydrating

  • Fragrance-, dye-, and paraben-free

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky

Grab this great pick containing urea the next time you’re at the drugstore and slather it on from head to toe. Along with smoothing, hydrating, and exfoliating benefits of urea, it's fragrance-free, dye-free, and paraben-free, all important qualities to seek out in a product when you have psoriasis.

Active Ingredients: Urea, ceramide 3 | Skin Type: Dry, rough, bumpy | Size: 16.9 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Multi-Purpose: La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

la-roche-posay

Courtesy of Walgreens

What We Like
  • Fights irritation and inflammation

  • Multi-purpose product

  • Non-greasy

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount

While not officially positioned as a psoriasis cream, this universal skin salve is ideal for anyone dealing with the condition. The super soother is packed with ingredients such as panthenol, shea butter, and glycerin to help fight irritation and inflammation, which is exactly what you want when you’re dealing with psoriasis. Not to mention that you can then use it as a face moisturizer on any cuts or burns, even chapped lips.

Active Ingredients: Vitamin B5, shea butter, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water | Skin Type: Cracked, chapped, chafed, dry | Size: 1.35 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Ointment: DermaER Psoriasis Medicated Cream

DermaER Psoriasis Medicated Cream
What We Like
  • Breaks down plaques and scale

  • Fragrance-free

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Can irritate eyes

With a thicker consistency, this ointment is choice for dabbing onto smaller spots and is ideal for anyone who suffers from random, smaller areas of plaques and scales. It touts 2 percent salicylic acid in a steroid-free and fragrance-free formula.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid | Skin Type: Dry, itchy, irritated, eczema-prone, psoriasis-prone | Size: 2.7 ounces | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Scalp: Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Courtesy of Neutrogena

What We Like
  • Fights irritation and inflammation

  • Affordable

  • Reduces itch

What We Don't Like
  • Strong scent

The scalp is a common spot where psoriasis can crop up. Admittedly, it may be less visible here than when it’s on your arms or legs, but the discomfort can be intense. We know, we know, this isn’t a cream, but really who wants to apply a cream on their scalp? We’ll let this one sneak onto the list, especially because it came highly recommended for scalp psoriasis by both of the derms we interviewed.

It contains coal tar, the other FDA-approved ingredient for psoriasis, which has been shown to calm inflammation in the skin and slow the growth of skin cells, helping with the itch and scaling associated with psoriasis, notes Birnbaum. FYI, to fully reap the benefits, Miller recommends using it two to three times per week and letting it sit on the scalp for at least a few minutes before rinsing.

Active Ingredients: Coal tar | Skin Type: Dry, psoriasis-prone, itchy, flaky | Size: 4.4 ounces, 8.5 fluid ounces, 16 ounces | SPF: None | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. While she doesn’t suffer from psoriasis, her boyfriend does. She used him as her guinea pig when selecting the best products for this story. Six of the 12 products included also have the National Psoriasis Foundation's Seal of Recognition.

Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum is a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology practicing medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Birnbaum treats patients of all ages with psoriasis, acne, eczema, rosacea, and skin cancer.

Dr. Jason Miller is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Torsekar R, Gautam MM. Topical Therapies in Psoriasis. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2017 Jul-Aug;8(4):235-245. doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.209622. PMID: 28761838; PMCID: PMC5518573.

  2. Prestes PS, Oliveira MM, Leonardi GR. Randomized clinical efficacy of superficial peeling with 85% lactic acid versus 70% glycolic acid. An Bras Dermatol. 2013 Nov-Dec;88(6):900-5. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20131888. PMID: 24474097; PMCID: PMC3900339.

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