Medications may be prescribed to treat skin conditions or improve the appearance of your skin.
They may be applied to the surface of the skin (topical medications), taken by mouth (oral medications), or injected (systemic medications)
Topical Dermatology Medications
- Antibiotics: These medications are used to treat superficial skin infections, such as impetigo. Topical antibiotics include neomycin (Neosporin®) and mupirocin (Bacitracin®),
- Antifungals: These medications are used to treat superficial fungal infections that affected limited areas, such as ringworm on a part of the trunk or athlete’s foot (tine pedis). Topical antifungal medications include terbinafine, clotrimazole and ketoconazole,
- Benzoyl peroxide: This medication is commonly used to treat acne and may be combined with other topical acne medications in over-the-counter formulations.
- Corticosteroids: This class of medications is commonly used to treat eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis and other inflammatory skin disorders. Topical corticosteroids are available in a variety of strengths and formulations. Hydrocortisone is a topical corticosteroid that is available without a prescription.
- Retinoids: These medications are used to treat acne, psoriasis, and signs of aging skin. Topical retinoids Differin®, Retin-A®, and Tazorac®.
- Salicylic acid: This is the active ingredient in many skin care products used for the treatment of acne and warts.
Oral Dermatology Medications – Taken by Mouth
- Antibiotics: These medications are commonly prescribed treat bacterial skin infections, such as cellulitis. They may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation resulting from other skin conditions, such as acne and rosacea. Oral antibiotics include dicloxacillin, erythromycin, minocycline, and tetracycline.
- Antifungals: These drugs are used to treat extensive fungal skin infections, such as those that affect the scalp (tinea capitis) and toenails or fingernails (onychomycosis). Oral antifungals include griseofulvin, ketoconazole, fluconazole and terbinafine.
- Antivirals: These medications are prescribed for the treatment of viral skin infections, such as herpes and shingles. Antivirals include valacyclovir, acyclovir and famciclovir.
- Corticosteroids: Prednisone and other oral corticosteroids are used to treat a wide range of inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, vasculitis, and other autoimmune disorders.
- Cyclosporine: This medication has been a standard treatment for moderate-to-severe psoriasis.
- Immunosuppressants: These medications, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, may be prescribed to treat severe cases of psoriasis or eczema.
- Methotrexate: Like cyclosporine, methotrexate may be prescribed to treat psoriasis.
Systemic Dermatology Medications – Injected
- Biologics: This new class of medications are used to treat cancer, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. New biologic medications are being developed for the treatment of eczema and other skin conditions. To be effective, these medications must be injected intravenously (through an IV), into the muscle (intramuscularly), or into skin (subcutaneously). Biologic medications approved for the treatment of psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis include apremilast (Otezla®), etanercept (Enbrel®), adalimumab (Humira®), infliximab (Remicade®), and ustekinumab (Stelara®).