Coal Tar Shampoo

– Helping Your Psoriasis

By: - Disease & Illness - June 6, 2011
coal tar shampoo

Coal tar shampoo has been in use for more than one hundred and fifty years.  It has been used alone, known as coal tar psoriasis, and combined with other ingredients such as steroid to treat varied illnesses.  Because it has few side effects, most people find it easier to use, though the smell is no different from the tar used on roads and piers.  However, it is far less messy.

Coal tar shampoo is quite often used in the important treatment of the skin ailment and immune system disease called psoriasis.  In recent years many people have raised concerns about this ointment given the potential connection with the tar to cancer.  However, unlike the exposure found in miners of coal tar, as well as those working to clean chimneys and lay asphalt on the roads, which in itself has been shown to cause scrotal, skin and lung cancers, the therapeutic versions and dosages of coal tar psoriasis ointment is not known to increase cancer rates in patients, any more than any other type of ointment, even after studies covering twenty-five years.  The only issues that can be attributed to using the ointment is that many users become highly sensitive to the sun, which really is not that uncommon considering psoriasis is connected to many arthritic conditions, which can also involve light sensistivity anyway.

Coal tar shampoo should be used only under the supervision of a doctor, and if you use the coal tar psoriasis ointment, using proper sun block is highly advised because skin damaged by burning or tanning can make psoriasis worse anyway.  Most often, the ointment and shampoo only contain about ten percent tar, working out to be only 2% of the overall volume.  Many have as little as one percent, though in extreme cases, doctors may prescribe a shampoo or ointment that can contain as much as twenty percent, but usually only for short-term use.  As of 2002, in accordance with the California Proposition 65, the tar contained in these medicines has been duly labeled as having no significant type of risk as a carcinogen.

Photo: psoriasis – copyright 2010, James Heilman, MD; reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 3.0


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