Skin Care Tips for Patients with Psoriasis

Although psoriasis is most evident on the skin, it’s actually an autoimmune disorder. Healthy skin cells are destroyed by T-cells, which normally attack foreign bodies, like bacteria. This disorder makes the skin cells reproduce too quickly—dead cells can’t fall off properly, so a buildup of skin occurs, creating itchy, painful patches of scaly, red skin.

Psoriasis can’t be cured, but it can be managed by avoiding triggers and taking care of yourself. While everyone worries about providing their skin with the best care and products, for someone battling psoriasis, skin care is even more essential. 

Products to Avoid

Sulfates, like those found in most shampoos, can be especially irritable for those with psoriasis.

The purpose of sulfates is to create the soapy foam that tends to be associated with cleaning. However, if you’re trying to get your psoriasis under control, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo and learn to get by without the lather.

Scented skin care products can also be problematic. Opt for fragrance-free items, and check the ingredients on products with tricky wording like “unscented.” Watch out for other scented products, like laundry detergent, that spend a lot of time with your skin, even though they aren’t directly applied. 

Finally, keep in mind that alcohol-based products can be especially drying to the skin, which exacerbates psoriasis. 

Alternative Products

“Sulfate-free” isn’t the only shampoo option available for people with psoriasis. Shampoos with coal tar or salicylic acid can actually help with psoriasis plaque build up on the scalp—which about 50% of psoriasis sufferers are dealing with. Salicylic acid may help on other areas of the skin as well, although too much can make matters worse.

Find a gentle, fragrance-free lotion—some are even intended specifically for helping with psoriasis—and keep your skin hydrated to help avoid breakouts. Warm baths with oatmeal or other soothing add-ins can help soothe skin as well. 

Tips and Tricks

Never use a new product all over your body before you know if it’s going to work well with your skin. While this is a good idea for anyone, if you have psoriasis it’s absolutely necessary. For example, tea tree oil was at one point considered the absolute best for trying to manage psoriasis—but nonetheless, it doesn’t work for everyone. Just because someone else with psoriasis says “this stuff is the best!” doesn’t mean your skin will respond to it the same way theirs did. Rub a small amount of product on a small area (like the back of your hand), and see how your skin responds before going all-out.

Avoid using things like loofahs that can be rough on the skin and make matters worse. Always talk to your dermatologist before trying something new or changing up your routine! Get plenty of sunlight (with an appropriate sunscreen), and make sure to tailor your diet to your sensitive skin. Even cutting down stress may help keep your skin smoother, softer, and less itchy.

Featured Image: depositphotos/gustavofrazao