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As a brand that specializes in gentle, nonirritating products, CeraVe offers several items that can provide relief for — and may even help control — some symptoms of psoriasis.

There are prescription medications that are usually needed to control psoriatic flares, but there are also many over-the-counter (OTC) products that, with regular use, can help soften some of the scaly plaques and control the itchy skin caused by psoriasis. They may even help decrease the severity of psoriasis flares.

CeraVe, a brand known for creating gentle skin care products, offers a few psoriasis-specific items, and others that are psoriasis-safe.

  • Many contain trusted itch-relief ingredients like pramoxine hydrochloride.
  • Moisturizing ingredients like shea butter are also present in CeraVe formulas.
  • Ceramides are used in CeraVe products. They help repair the skin’s natural lipid barrier, which is typically doesn’t function properly in people with eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
  • Salicylic acid, a keratolytic, can help slough off dry skin from psoriasis plaques, reducing itching. It’s the active ingredient in CeraVe SA Cleanser.

There’s also hydrocortisone, which is the main ingredient of most OTC anti-itch creams. It can help decrease itching and inflammation — though people with psoriasis may need a stronger, prescription-strength topical steroid to provide maximum symptom relief.

All CeraVe products are created with input from professional dermatologists, and, per their website, have “been widely endorsed worldwide by skin care organizations, including being awarded more Seal of Acceptance awards from the National Eczema Association than any other brand.”

In a recent study, 33 participants with a history of psoriasis on the face or body reported favorable experiences using a basic CeraVe moisturizer and a cleanser twice a day for 2 weeks, from how the products felt on their skin, to how moisturizing they were.

Skin care products you use can make a huge difference in managing your psoriasis. When choosing which CeraVe products are best for those with psoriasis, we looked at endorsements from dermatologists and experts, the inclusion of ingredients with proven itch-reducing and skin moisturizing capabilities, and consumer reviews.

Price guide

Most CeraVe products are quite affordable for most people, and they can be found at major drugstores.

However, some can be a bit pricey to pay for at once, especially items that come in larger containers like the Renewing SA Cleanser and specialty products like the Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen.

That said, sometimes a single tube of sunscreen can last a whole summer — or multiple summers — depending how much you get outside.

The prices of the products in this article are broken down, per the following key:

$ = under $1 per ounce
$$ = $1–$2 per ounce
$$$ = over $2 per ounce

In general, most CeraVe products are safe for psoriasis. However, CeraVe does make a handful of products that contain ingredients that are clinically proven to help address some of the symptoms of psoriasis on the skin. They’re labeled as such. You can also look for products bearing the Seal of Recognition from the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Those with psoriasis should avoid skin care products with fragrances, sulfates, or alcohols like ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. People with psoriasis should also avoid most OTC anti-itch products, like calamine, Benadryl cream (and generic versions), and hydrocortisone. These can cause further irritation or dry out the skin even more.

The ingredient lists for products we recommended in this roundup do not include fragrances, sulfates, or alcohols.

Best for itch relief

Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Fragrance: no
  • Key ingredients: pramoxine hydrochloride, niacinamide

If you need quick relief from itchy skin, CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream might fill the bill. It contains 1% pramoxine hydrochloride to treat itch, and shea butter and hyaluronic acid for sustained hydration. It also has niacinamide, which can help decrease inflammation. Finally, it contains ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep skin soft.

Like all CeraVe products, it’s gentle on skin and also holds a National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. Amazon users give this product a near-perfect score of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Pros

  • In addition to expert moisturizing ingredients, this product contains an anti-itch ingredient to calm skin irritation.
  • Users with psoriasis say it provides significant relief from itching.
  • It lives up to its promise of lasting 8 hours.

Cons

  • It is expensive compared to similar products.
  • Some reviews say the itch relief isn’t strong enough.

Best face wash for psoriasis

Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser

  • Price: $
  • Fragrance: no
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, amino acids, hyaluronic acid

While most psoriasis plaques appear on the arms, legs, or scalp, they can appear on your face as well. As such, face washes for people with psoriasis should be free of harsh alcohols or fragrances and as moisturizing as possible.

The CeraVe Cream-to-Foam cleanser is the company’s most hydrating formula, with hyaluronic acid and ceramides providing moisture, and amino acids that help maintain the skin’s natural moisture. This wash is pH balanced and is safe for contact lens wearers. An added bonus is it’s great at breaking down makeup.

Pros

  • While prices vary, the product is generally affordable when broken down per ounce.
  • The formula also helps remove makeup.
  • It’s designed to help maintain the skin’s natural moisture.

Cons

  • Some users report it irritates sensitive skin.
  • Some reviews say it feels more “nondrying” than “hydrating.”

Best for exfoliation

Renewing SA Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Fragrance: no
  • Key ingredients: salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, ceramides

Salicylic acid (SA) is commonly recommended as a treatment for psoriasis plaques, as it helps gently turn skin cells over or gently slough off buildup of old skin cells. However, there’s a limit to how much SA plaques can take. Too much of it can irritate plaques further.

The CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is gentle enough for psoriasis and supplemented with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide to moisturize and calm skin. It does not contain the harsh microbeads that many exfoliant cleansers rely on and is enriched with vitamin D, a synthetic version of which is commonly prescribed for psoriasis control.

Pros

  • It does not leave skin feeling “tight” as other salicylic acid (SA) products can.
  • SA can also help control oil.
  • Many users find it’s gentler on their skin than most salicylic acid cleansers.

Cons

  • The SA in this product can dry out skin.

Best moisturizer for psoriasis

Healing Ointment

  • Price: $$
  • Fragrance: no
  • Key ingredients: petrolatum, hyaluronic acid

To soothe tough plaques, try CeraVe Healing Ointment. It’s made to not only moisturize dry, cracked skin but also to protect it from further irritation by forming a barrier. Even though this is a heavy-duty hydrator, it’s still recommended for psoriasis as a non-irritating topical product.

Reviewers share how this ointment has remedied a host of skin problems, from dry winter skin to diabetic blisters. It’s made to last for up to 8 hours, so you can even put it on before bed to let it work its magic.

Pros

  • It has a slightly lighter formula than other petrolatum-based ointments.
  • The ceramides and hyaluronic acid give skin added moisture.
  • A little goes a long way, making it a good bang for your buck.

Cons

  • Some users find regular petroleum jelly is just as effective.
  • The texture may feel greasy at first as it sinks into the skin.

Best body wash for psoriasis

Psoriasis Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Fragrance: no
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, urea, alpha-hydroxy acid, niacinamide, salicylic acid

When choosing a body wash, consider products that are non-irritating and hydrating, but that can still get the job done when it comes to exfoliation. CeraVe makes a psoriasis-friendly cleanser with salicylic and lactic acids to assist in peeling back itchy plaques.

Amazon shoppers say this product lessened the sting those with psoriasis can feel after showering in hot water, reduced redness and scaling in plaques, and even helped with body acne. It may be considered a bit pricey on a per ounce basis, but compared to other medicated psoriasis remedies, it’s still cheaper. The National Psoriasis Foundation recognizes CeraVe Psoriasis Cleanser as an effective product.

Pros

  • This product is specifically formulated to treat and calm psoriasis symptoms.
  • CeraVe Psoriasis Cleanser is officially recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation as an effective product.
  • It can be used on the scalp, a place where people with psoriasis may be prone to developing plaques.

Cons

  • The product consistency is thin, making it hard to apply evenly.
  • The product is unscented, but reviewers say it has a strong chemical smell, which is often attributable to urea or lactic acid.

Best sunscreen for psoriasis

Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

  • Price: $$$
  • Fragrance: no
  • Key ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide

Many people with psoriasis find that getting some sun improves the appearance of their psoriasis plaques. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends those with psoriasis still wear sunscreen (though they recommend not to apply it to open or inflamed skin).

Zinc and titanium dioxide — two common UV-blocking ingredients in sunscreen — are psoriasis-safe and found in CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen. It also comes in a lotion formulation for the face, but the standard sunscreen also has skin-softening ceramides.

Pros

  • This is a noncomedogenic sunscreen, meaning it will not block pores.
  • CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is reef-safe, so it does not contain ingredients that cause damage to coral reefs.
  • The facial version has a “universal tint,” which may help reduce the white cast sunscreens sometimes leave.

Cons

  • On a per ounce basis, this is the most expensive item on our list.
  • Reviewers say the regular sunscreen leaves a white cast on darker skin tones.

ProductPrice per ounceProduct typeKey ingredients
Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream$$lotionpramoxine hydrochloride
Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser$gentle face washhyaluronic acid
Renewing SA Cleanser$$face/body washsalicylic acid
Healing Ointment$$ointmentpetrolatum
Psoriasis Cleanser$$face/body wash with mild chemical exfoliationsalicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid
Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen$$$sunscreentitanium and zinc oxide

When shopping for an OTC product to treat psoriasis, the first thing is to make sure it’s fragrance-free. Added fragrances in skin care products can cause further irritation. If you have plaque psoriasis, anything that could further inflame plaques is not ideal.

While further inflammation is a key concern, it’s important to know that there are plenty of ingredients that can have the opposite effect. They help reduce the itching and sensitivity associated with psoriasis plaques. Salicylic acid (SA) is one of the most commonly recommended, as it can help gently facilitate sloughing off dry skin.

You may also want to look for ingredients that will form a thick, protective layer over plaques, like petrolatum or glycerin. This can help soothe plaques and protect them from further irritation.

CeraVe products are widely recommended by dermatologists. However, most people with psoriasis will find that they need topical prescription medications to help manage flares.

Topical steroids or creams enriched with a synthetic form of vitamin D are two examples. Your healthcare professional can prescribe these products. While you can seek care in the middle of a flare, it may be better to have them on-hand in advance of flare-ups.

You can talk with your healthcare professional for more information about adding these products to your treatment plan.

Is CeraVe Dermatologist recommended?

Yes. CeraVe comes highly recommended by most dermatologists. In fact, many of the products were developed with input from dermatologists.

Can the CeraVe lotion be used in place of the face cream?

Technically, yes. However, because body lotions tend to have a thicker formulation than those made for the face, the products could cause breakouts or irritation.

CeraVe offers a number of products that can help calm irritated facial skin and are likely a better option.

What other CeraVe products should be used in addition to cream for psoriasis?

CeraVe SA Cleanser or Psoriasis Cleanser pairs well with the Psoriasis Cream, as the SA in both products helps decrease the thickness of plaques by gently removing the old skin cells. CeraVe Healing Ointment is also helpful for those with psoriasis, as it provides a protective layer over irritated skin to prevent further irritation.

CeraVe is a brand known for using gentle ingredients, so they have plenty of products for you to try to manage your psoriasis symptoms. No matter what products you decide on, look for skin-softening ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides and avoid perfumes and isopropyl alcohol.


Jody Amable is a freelance writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in music and subcultures. Her work has been seen in KQED Arts, Atlas Obscura, and local weeklies.