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Dithranol Topical



Dithranol topical is used for treatment of subacute and chronic psoriasis (a long term skin disease that causes skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in thick, white, silvery, or red scaly patches) including psoriasis of the scalp.

How it works

Dithranol belongs to the class of medications know as antimitotic drugs. It works by reducing the scaling and thickening of the skin thereby helping to clear patches of psoriasis by restoring normal skin development.

Common side effects

Application site warmth, Application site irritation, Burning sensation, Skin redness, Hair discolouration, Skin staining


Expert advice

  • Do wash the skin or scalp one hour after application of dithranol as prolonged exposure may cause skin burning and excessive soreness. 
  • Do not apply dithranol on areas of folded skin, such as groin, axilla or underneath the breasts as the skin’s response to dithranol tends to be stronger in these areas.
  • Avoid contact of the cream with eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Do not use dithranol to treat areas of psoriasis lesions on your face.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Do not use if you are allergic to dithranol or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not use if you have psoriasis where skin lesions feel and look sore and angry, or on pustular psoriasis (where skin lesions are very tender, inflamed, and involve small blisters filled with pus).

Frequently asked questions

Dithranol Topical

Q. Is dithranol a steroid?
Dithranol is not a steroid. It is an antimitotic drug.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)