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Vitamin D for psoriasis

Vitamin D can help reduce all forms of psoriasis. Vitamin D plays several key roles in your body, including absorption of minerals, calcium & phosphorus from the foods you eat. Calcipotriene, a form of vitamin D, can control the rapid growth of skin cells which occurs in psoriasis. 

Key Points

  • Vitamin D can reduce skin cell turnover
  • Vitamin D creams & lotions can be used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis
  • Special gel formulations of vitamin D can treat scalp psoriasis
  • Most vitamin D creams are covered under the PBS
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Vitamin D for psoriasis at a glance

Best outcomes: 3-6 months
Procedure time: NA
Duration of results: Can be years
Back to work: NA
Recovery: NA
Anaesthetic: NA
Your specialist: Dermatologist
How much: $

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        What products are available?

        Vitamin D based agents in topical preparations are best for treating psoriasis. 

        In Australia, calcipotriol (cal-see-pot-tree-ol) is the most widely used cream. Calcipotriol is a vitamin D3-derived drug specifically developed for mild to moderate psoriasis.

        Commonly known as ‘Daivonex’ or ‘Daivobet’ in Australia, calcipotriol is available in an ointment, a cream, gel & lotion. In these different formulations, calcipotriol can be used on the skin, the scalp & the nails. In the ointment and gel forms, calcipotriol can be combined with a topical anti-inflammatory for even greater effect on psoriasis.

        What areas of psoriasis can be treated with vitamin D creams?

        Vitamin D creams can be safely used in all areas of the body, including

        • Psoriasis of the body
        • Scalp psoriasis
        • Nail psoriasis 

        How does vitamin D work?

        Calcipotriol works by binding to special receptors in cells of the skin. It controls genes involved in the formation of skin cells. These products slow down the rapid formation of skin & the immune changes in skin that occur with psoriasis.

        By slowing down the turnover of skin cells, vitamin D reduces scale formation.

        How soon will my psoriasis improve after starting vitamin D?

        Applied once or twice daily, calcipotriol is effective and well tolerated in most patients. It can be applied long term and the benefits can be long standing. 

        It usually takes one to two months to see the maximum benefits from these products. Dermatologists may recommend these products be used in conjunction with other treatments including phototherapy. This can accelerate clearance. 

        Learn more (link to phototherapy) 


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        Vitamin D creams work by slowing down skin turnover. This vitamin is best combined with phototherapy for faster results.

        How much are treatments?

        Most prescribed topical vitamin D agents for psoriasis are made more affordable under the government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). It works out to be around 1-2 dollars a day.

        Are vitamin D treatments safe?

        These treatments are safe. The thinning of the skin sometimes seen with long-term topical steroid use is not seen with these products. 

        Our specialists at Cutis Dermatology Brisbane will determine how much of these products you should use at any one time, keeping total application to less than 100 grams /week.

        Rare side effects include burning, itching and irritation of the skin, particularly on the face & the body’s skin folds. These symptoms usually lessen over time as your skin adjusts to the product. Often using these products in conjunction with topical steroids can also lessen the chance of skin irritation

        Will taking vitamin D tablets clear my psoriasis?

        Vitamin D supplements can be useful for the prevention of many diseases including osteoporosis, and some forms of skin cancer. 

        Increasing vitamin D intake does not clear psoriasis, however they can be taken safely.  Vitamin D is best delivered by either gels, creams or lotions. 

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