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Pain-Relieving Rubs and Psoriatic Arthritis

Topical analgesics are often used to ease arthritis pain, but are they safe for psoriasis plaques?

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Q: Can I use topical pain relievers on my joints if I have psoriasis patches there?

A: Many people find that topical analgesics containing ingredients such as capsaicin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or counterirritants (substances that create a sensation that interferes with the sensation of pain) are helpful for painful joints -- particularly superficial joints such as the knees or joints of the hands. Unfortunately, research is lacking on how these products might affect psoriasis patches. My recommendation would be to give different products a try. If you find that a product irritates your skin, stop using it; otherwise you can continue to use any products you find helpful. My one caution is against picking at your patches to help with penetration. Apply the products over the scales, being careful not to irritate them.

Jeffrey Weinberg, MD
Dermatologist
Forest Hills, New York

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