Aisle Do's: Drugstore Psoriasis Products That Derms Love

by Kaleigh Fasanella Health Writer

Walking into a drugstore to shop for personal-care products like shampoo and moisturizer might sound like no big deal. But for folks with psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, the mere thought can be daunting. Despite the aisles of options, people with psoriasis can’t just choose something because it looks cool or smells amazing. They must be sticklers about what they buy. Luckily, more and more skin-care brands are creating steroid-free products that cater specifically to people with psoriatic skin. We tapped board-certified dermatologists to find out which ones are worth trying out (remember to do a test patch first). Click through to discover your new OTC arsenal.

Cerave Psoriasis Cleanser 8oz
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Clean Sweep: CeraVe Psoriasis Cleanser

This ultra-gentle-yet-hard-working face wash from derm-favorite brand CeraVe babies dry, distressed skin with redness-relieving niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) and ceramides, which are lipids that help form the skin’s barrier. Melissa Levin, M.D., a clinical instructor at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, is also a fan because it contains both salicylic and lactic acid, which work to remove dead skin build-up and soften dry, flaky spots. ($14, amazon.com)

Dove Gentle Exfoliating Beauty Bar
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Raise the Bar: Dove Gentle Exfoliating Bar

Gentle, daily exfoliation can help remove the scale build-up that makes psoriasis plaques look white, explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “This basic bar cleanser gently removes the build-up of cells from psoriasis plaques without overly drying the skin, which is your ultimate goal,” he says. If you have more-than-usual plaque build-up, skip the scruffy loofahs and use a damp, soft washcloth instead to buff the skin. ($7, walmart.com)

Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Wash
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Super Suds: Aveeno Positively Radiant Exfoliating Body Wash

Not a fan of bar soaps? Try this derm- and fan-favorite, which contains finely-crushed walnut shell, as well as a blend of hydrating soy proteins, to nourish and polish the skin at the same time. The ultra-gentle liquid cleanser uses manual exfoliation to help remove thick scales from the skin—additionally, its soy complex can help brighten any pigmentation left behind on the skin when psoriasis plaques improve. ($7, target.com)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream
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Water Works: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream

When you have a skin condition like psoriasis, moisturizing—and moisturizing often—is essential. Dermatologists recommend this water-packed, lightweight formula that contains hyaluronic acid, which is like a sponge that pulls hydration into the outer skin layer. Slather on a thick, cooling layer post-shower (just pat dry) and your skin will thank you. ($10, ulta.com)

Amlactin Daily
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Smooth Move: AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Lotion

AmLactin is an OTC lotion that many dermatologists recommend to their patients during flares when psoriasis plaques have multiplied, as it contains exfoliating lactic acid. Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that interrupts connections between skin cells, so dead cells can easily be shed. Bonus: It also has some major skin-moisturizing benefits. ($23, walgreens.com)

Eucerin Roughness Relief Spot Treatment
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On the Spot: Eucerin Roughness Relief Spot Treatment

This featherlight lotion does more than you’d think it would upon first application. It contains a cool 30% urea, an ingredient that helps soften rough patches (urea is naturally present in healthy skin but it's greatly reduced in people with psoriasis). This treatment offers hydrating and exfoliating benefits, too, as it contains lactic acid, sunflower seed oil, and ceramides. “The amount of urea in this little tube is around what you’d get in a prescription-strength product,” Dr. Zeichner adds. ($7, cvs.com)

CeraVe Psoriasis Cream
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Dream Cream: CeraVe Psoriasis Cream

Another favorite of Dr. Levin’s, this rich face and body cream (we love that you can use it head-to-toe!) cools inflamed skin and instantly soothes redness and irritation. Like CeraVe’s Psoriasis Cleanser, it also contains salicylic acid to help alleviate scaling, as well as mild-to-moderate itching. What’s more, the three essential ceramides it contains pack another punch by working to repair and restore the skin barrier. So yes, you could say it’s an all-around excellent product to have ready. ($16, amazon.com)

Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Lotion
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Moisture Lock: Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Lotion

Regular hydration is key when you have psoriasis, so you should always have a solid, super-nourishing lotion or cream in your collection. A great everyday option, this water-based lotion is loaded with hydrators like glycerin, and features microdroplets of Vaseline Jelly, which locks in moisture. And at this bargain price, we suggest buying a few bottles, so you don’t run out! ($4, target.com)

Vitamin NOW Solutions Vitamin D-3 Cream
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Get a D: Vitamin NOW Solutions Vitamin D-3 Cream

Vitamin D can be beneficial for psoriasis as it helps strengthen the skin and can aid in slowing down the growth of new skin cells that lead to scaling. This rich, ultra-moisturizing cream contains high-potency vitamin D, in addition to other skin-loving ingredients like shea butter, aloe, and vitamin E. ($8, amazon.com)

Kamedis Anti-Dandruff Therapy Shampoo
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Flake Out: Kamedis Anti-Dandruff Therapy Shampoo

If you struggle with scalp psoriasis dandruff shampoos like this one can be incredibly beneficial. This one contains zinc pyrithione, which lowers the levels of yeast on the scalp, and soapberry, a bacteria-fighting botanical. Less of those buggers means less inflammation, scaling, and itching. While these shampoos do clean your hair, you should think of them more like a scalp treatment. “Apply to the scalp and let it sit while you sing Happy Birthday, then rinse it off,” Dr. Zeichner advises. ($16, amazon.com)

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
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CoalTar : Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

This scale-fighting shampoo looks pretty hardcore in the bottle, but that’s only because it contains coal-tar extract, an ingredient that’s scientifically proven to work its anti-dandruff magic even hours after rinsing it off. Most dermatologists suggest using it two to three times a week, and to let it sit on the scalp for at least three minutes. ($11, walmart.com)

Kaleigh Fasanella
Meet Our Writer
Kaleigh Fasanella

Kaleigh Fasanella is a beauty, wellness, and health writer based in Brooklyn, New York and formerly worked for magazines like Allure and Teen Vogue. She's a huge advocate for skin-acceptance and self-love, and she really enjoys writing about topics that help shed the stigma surrounding chronic conditions like psoriasis and eczema. When she's not writing to pay her rent, Kaleigh can be found face-masking, watching any and every culinary documentary on Netflix, and planning her next Italian excursion.