Dermarest is a registered brand name for an over-the-counter series of psoriasis medications. Between 1 and 2 per cent of the population(about 7.5 million Americans) have the relatively common skin disorder, says Dr. Richard Langley, a Canadian dermatologist and author of "Psoriasis: Everything You Need to Know." It mostly appears as thick red patches of skin (plaque) and silver-scaly flakes. Psoriasis can be anywhere on the body, but the most frequent places are the scalp, elbows, knees and trunk. Dermarest's active ingredients are salicylic acid and a zinc formulation. They come in a range of medicated products: moisturiser, skin treatment, scalp treatment, shampoo and conditioner, and overnight treatment.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Get the diagnosis right. A dermatologist will diagnose psoriasis correctly, based on a skin and nails examination, questions on your family history (because there is a strong hereditary element in who gets psoriasis) and maybe a skin biopsy, says Langley, an assistant professor of dermatology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Use Dermarest-medicated shampoo and conditioner if you have scalp psoriasis, which 50 per cent of psoriasis patients do, according to Langley. Salcycilic acid, the brand's active ingredient, helps remove excessive scale, he says. Dermarest's medicated scalp treatment removes and controls crusty scalp build-ups, according to the Dermarest website.
Apply the medicated skin treatment one to four times daily. This is one of three products for skin as compared to scalp psoriasis. Dermarest makes the claim on the label that it "removes scales, so healthy skin can grow." Research since 1995 shows psoriasis is an immune system disorder, says Dr. Langley. It is actually skin cells growing too fast. However he says products such as Dermarest help remove excessive scale, which allows other medications(such as steroids) to penetrate the inflamed sites.
Use the Dermarest moisturiser, as you would any other over-the-counter moisturiser, to keep the affected areas moist. Langley agrees moisturisers are an important tool to contain psoriasis, but rarely effective alone. Apply them twice a day. Dermarest has an overnight treatment that works while you sleep, without leaving messy cling films and much clean-up, the website claims.
Squeeze enough ointment for your needs, using the fingertip unit (FTU) method.
Measure it by the amount of ointment that covers your fingertip. This is one FTU
Use one FTU to cover your hand, for example; two FTUs for a foot, three for an arm, six for a leg and seven for the front and back of the trunk, says Langley.
Tips and warnings
- Salicylic acid, Dermarest's active ingredient, can mix in low concentrations with mineral oil or topical steroids, says Langley.
- "Ask a doctor if condition covers a large area of the body," the Dermarest label warns.
- Dermarest medicated skin treatment has a tricky nozzle that could produce much more cream than you meant to squeeze out.
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