Skip to content

Coal Tar

    DEA Class; OTC

    Common Brand Names; Fototar, Medotar, Oxipor VHC, Polytar Soap, Psorent, Psoriasin, Taraphilic

    • Keratolytic Agents

    coal tar shampoo (OTC)

    Brand and Other Names: Neutrogena T/Gel Original, DHS Tar, Doak Tar, Ionil T Plus, PC-Tar, Pentrax, Polytar Shampoo, TeraGel, Zetar
    • Classes: Keratolytic Agents

    coal tar bath products (OTC)

    Brand and Other Names: Balnetar, Cutar Emulsion, Doak Tar Oil
    • Classes: Keratolytic Agents

    Keratolytic agent; elicits antiseptic & antibacterial properties

    Indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in patients who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.

    Indicated for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis

    Indicated for active psoriatic arthritis

    Indicated for active ankylosing spondylitis

    Indicated for active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with objective signs of inflammation


    • Stinging/burning of skin
    • Desquamation
    • Folliculitis
    • Photosensitivity
    • Coal tar may cause discoloration or staining

    Topical use only

    Avoid contact with eyes

    Avoid inflamed or broken skin

    Avoid exposure to sunlight (coal tar photosensitizing)

    Keep away from fire/flame (coal tar is flammable)

    Pregnancy category: C

    Lactation: Unknown

    Pregnant or breastfeeding patients should seek advice of health professional before using OTC drugs

    Psoriasis & Seborrhea Dermatitis

    Apply sparingly to affected area up to 4 times/day; decrease frequency to 2-3 times/week once improvement observed

    Product content varies, check individual labeling

    Scalp Psoriasis & Seborrhea

    Apply to wet hair/scalp, lather for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly & repeat

    Application frequency depends on severity (two times/week to qDay)

    Psoriasis & Seborrhea Dermatitis

    Add to bath water, soak for 5-20 minutes, then gently pat skin dry; use qDay for 3 days


    topical cream

    • coal tar 10% solution (equivalent to 2% coal tar)

    topical ointment

    • 2%

    topical gel

    • 0.5% (Thera-Gel)
    • 2.9% (DHS)

    topical lotion

    • coal tar 25% solution (equivalent to 5% coal tar)
    • coal tar 5% solution (equivalent to 1% coal tar)


    • coal tar 2.5% solution (equivalent to 0.5% coal tar)

    topical solution

    • coal tar 15% solution (equivalent to 2.3% coal tar)


    • 1-5%

    topical liquid

    • 1.5%
    • 2.5%

    topical oil

    • 2.5%