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What is the treatment for psoriasis of the head and skin?

Q: My husband has some skin infection on his head for the last 1 & half years. There is an accumulation of a white powder and slight discharge from his head. It can even be seen in his ears & the skin adjoining the ears. We think it is psoriasis. He has a lot of itching, irritation, redness, flaking and scaling from this. Please suggest any soap / shampoo that can be applied on the head and any cream that can be applied on skin (ears, etc.). Is there any oral medicine for this?

A:This surely sounds to be a case of psoriasis. Tar-containing shampoo/soaps should help to wash off the scales and also to soften the hard crusts. One has to remember that psoriasis cannot be cured but can be controlled. External application of steroid ointments - starting with a more potent steroid and tapering down to less potent ones will relieve the inflammation and itching. Oral medications are available, but have to be used with caution. I suggest that a dermatologist be consulted in person and then he/she will decide on the need to use oral drugs like methotrexate, cyclosporine, or acitretin.

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