Anthralin is a medicine applied to the skin of people with psoriasis. It controls the extra-rapid growth of skin cells.
It is not a cortisone, but a strong medicine that can cause the skin to become sore and irritated. It does not start to work until it has been used for several weeks. One of the advantages of this over cortisone ointments is that once the psoriasis goes away, it stays away for a longer period of time.
How anthralin treatment works
Anthralin is available as a greasy ointment (Anthraderm) and also as a non-greasy vanishing cream (Psoriatec,Dritho, Lasan).
When using this medication, you should follow these directions:
- Keep anthralin away from your eyes, as it may cause severe eye irritation. Always wash your hands after applying the cream so that you do not accidentally touch your eyes.
- Do not apply anthralin to the skin-fold areas such as the armpits, groin, genital, and rectal regions because severe soreness may occur.
- Use very small amounts of the cream at a time. Apply it to your psoriasis, and gently rub it in. After 30 minutes of contact with your skin, you should wash it off in a bath or shower. You can increase the amount of time the medicine is in contact with your skin up to 1 hour.
- If the cream or ointment irritates or burns the skin too much, you can wash it off sooner than 30 minutes.
- If severe irritation occurs, stop the anthralin and contact your dermatologist as soon as possible.
Are there any side effects?
Anthralin tends to irritate the skin and can make it very red and sore. Careful attention to details of treatment will help you to get the benefits of anthralin treatment while avoiding skin irritation.
The medication also causes temporary brownish staining of the skin. However, this stain is usually mild and fades away when the cream is stopped. Keep in mind that the cream will stains clothes permanently.