Psoriasis is a skin condition that's characterized by thick, scaly patches that are often itchy and/or painful, as well as unsightly. This is of particular concern to sufferers with psoriasis outbreaks on the face, as it may make them shy away from daily activities with friends or family. Facial psoriasis most commonly occurs on the eyebrows, forehead, skin between the nose and upper lip, and the hairline. To treat facial psoriasis, a number of approaches must be considered and tried, because what works for one person might not work for another.
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Use topical steroids. Also called corticosteroids, these work to reduce the redness and swelling of psoriatic facial skin. Caution must be taken not to overuse corticosteroids, which can irritate skin if left on too long. Corticosteroid creams come in a variety of potencies--from mild to very strong--so stick to the mild ones to protect your face from possible reactions. An example of a mild corticosteroid is Cortaid Cream, which also comes in spray and ointment forms.
Try Dovonex (calcipotriene) or Tazorec (tazarotene). The former is a synthetic form of vitamin D3, and the latter is derived from vitamin A; both need a prescription. Note that with Tazorec, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it is common to see scaly patches of facial psoriasis turn much redder than usual before they clear up.
Use over-the-counter ointments or creams containing salicylic acid. According to PsoriasisNet, salicylic acid is a peeling agent, medically known as a keratolytic substance, that causes the outer layer of the skin to shed. It is used commonly to treat a wide variety of skin problems; with psoriasis, it can help soften and remove scales. Use calicylic acid-containing products sparingly around the face, as they can be quite irritating to sensitive skin.
Get rid of psoriasis on the eyelids and around the eyes. Because of the extreme sensitivity of this part of the face, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends using Protopic ointment or Elidel cream--brand names for pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, respectively--as opposed to topical steroids or salicylic acid. This is because Protopic ointment and Elidel cream won't cause glaucoma, a potential side effect of corticosteroids if used around the eyes.
Try phototherapy, a method that exposes psoriatic skin to sunlight or artificial UVB light. Light from the sun and artificially generated (usually by lasers) UVB light destroy T-cells on the surface of the skin; T-cells are white blood cells that multiply uncontrollably in psoriasis, causing the scales and red skin that are typical of the disease. Too much UVB light can worsen psoriasis on the face, so make sure to sunbathe for short bursts--start with 5 to 10 minutes at noon--not more than three to four times per week, and always use sunblock of at least 15 SPF on skin that is not affected by psoriasis. Alternatively, ask your dermatologist about excimer UVB laser treatments, which were recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating psoriasis and which might require fewer treatment sessions than more conventional phototherapy techniques.