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Douglas Severance, Family Medicine, answeredOver-the-counter (OTC) topical medications are used to treat some types of plaque psoriasis. You can purchase OTC topical therapies at pharmacies, supermarkets or online on a manufacturer's website. The FDA has approved salicylic acid and tar, two active ingredients in OTC topical medications, for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. Salicylic acid is a peeling agent. This agent causes the outer layer of skin to shed. In treating psoriasis, salicylic acid softens and lifts (removes) the psoriasis scales. Coal tar is commonly used to control psoriasis by slowing down the growth of skin cells and restoring the skin's appearance. Also, coal tar can reduce inflammation, itching and scaling.