Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize — this is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do for your skin when you have psoriasis. Keeping skin moist helps reduce dryness, itching, redness, soreness, and scaling. Moisture can also help your skin heal.
Which moisturizer you use depends on how dry your skin is. Ointments are thick, heavy, and good at locking moisture in, while lotions are thinner and smooth on easily. Creams fall somewhere in-between. Fortunately, you don’t have to use high-priced moisturizers for your psoriasis skin care. Some people use petroleum jelly as an economical substitute.
Whichever moisturizer you use, pat it on gently after bathing, and reapply during the day as needed, especially if it’s cold or dry out.
- DAILY BATHS
- Baths are another easy way to help care for your skin when you have psoriasis. A daily warm bath using a mild soap can help soothe itchy spots and make it easier to remove dry skin.
- Add oil, colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salt, or Dead Sea salt to the water and soak for 15 minutes for even more relief.
- Steer clear of hot water or harsh soaps while you bathe. They may irritate and dry already-stressed skin. After your bath or shower, gently pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Rubbing your skin not only irritates existing lesions, it can also cause new ones. After you pat your skin dry, smooth on your moisturizer of choice.
- Find your psoriasis particularly itchy or irritating but don’t have time for a bath or shower? Try placing a wet towel or cold compress on the itchy spot.
- EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT
- A little ultraviolet (UV) light can go a long way in helping to sooth, improve, even heal psoriasis lesions, though why is still a mystery.
- You can use artificial light for UV therapy during the fall and winter months. The sun’s rays are probably the easiest way to expose your skin to UV light’s healing effects in spring and summer. But be careful: Too much sun (or sunburn) raises your risk of skin cancer and may make psoriasis outbreaks worse.
- Try moderate doses of UV exposure two or three times a week. Be sure to use sunscreen on the parts of your body that don’t have psoriasis outbreaks. Talk to your dermatologist or doctor before adding UV therapy to your psoriasis skin care regimen, and then schedule regular skin checkups to be sure you’re staying safe.
- Studies show that stress can inflame psoriasis and increase itching. Some people even trace their first outbreak of psoriasis to a particularly stressful event.
- Of course, reducing stress is easier to say than do, yet lowering stress may not only help reduce symptoms, it can give you a real sense of control, too.
- To reduce the stress in your life, develop a personal support system, think positively, and take the time to identify what’s important to you. Then practice stress management techniques like exercise, yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing, or biofeedback.
- Eating right, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of exercise can also help keep stress at bay — and help you fight off the infections that may trigger flares.
- AVOID USING HARSH AND CHEMICAL BASED COSMETICS
- You already know that skin with psoriasis is super sensitive. Good psoriasis skin care means avoiding harsh products that can irritate it even more, such as lotions containing alcohol, deodorant soaps, and even some laundry soaps.
Scratchy, rough clothes can also aggravate your skin, so try switching to softer, less irritating cotton-based clothing.
- QUIT SMOKING AND DRINKING
- Smoking can trigger psoriasis flares, so quitting may improve your psoriasis, though it doesn’t help everyone. Talk to your dermatologist if you’re considering using a nicotine patch to help you quit — skin patches can aggravate psoriasis for some.
- Heavy drinking can also trigger psoriasis and make treatment less effective. Drinking can also lead to dangerous side effects when combined with certain psoriasis medications.
- AVOID SCRATCHING AND PICKING ON SKIN
- There’s no doubt about it — itchy skin begs to be scratched. Yet scratching can tear open the skin, making way for infection-causing bacteria.
- To make the situation worse, scratching may cause lesions to appear where they weren’t before. Picking your skin creates the same hot bed for infection.
- Remember, psoriasis may not be curable, but there’s a lot you can do on your own to soothe your skin.