If you’ve been living with psoriasis for a long time, you probably know that taking care of your skin is an important part of managing your condition. Keeping your skin well hydrated can reduce itchiness and help prevent psoriasis flares.
If your psoriasis is mild, using over-the-counter moisturizers and topical treatments might be enough to manage your symptoms. If you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you’ll still benefit from a moisturizing routine along with staying on track with any treatment your doctor prescribes.
If you’re living with advanced psoriasis, it’s important to stay on track with the medication your doctor prescribes. A good moisturizing routine can also help you manage your symptoms.
Don’t stop taking the medication you’re on unless told by your doctor. There are many drugs available to treat psoriasis. They include:
- prescription topical treatments
- oral medications
- injected or infused biologic drugs
If you’re on one of these treatments but your psoriasis still isn’t under control, talk to your doctor. You might need to switch to a different psoriasis treatment.
It’s good to moisturize throughout the day. While it might be a part of your routine to lotion your body after showering, you should also consider moisturizing your hands after you wash them.
Using a moisturizer within 5 minutes of taking a bath or shower helps lock in moisture. When moisture is lost from the skin after bathing, it tends to make skin feel tight and dry. Also, make sure to wash with only warm or hot water (but not too hot!) and pat (don’t rub) your skin dry.
Cold, dry weather is extra harsh on psoriasis skin. During these months, make sure to moisturize often, especially after coming back inside from the cold.
It’s natural to want to scratch your skin when it feels itchy. Doing so can worsen your psoriasis symptoms. Try to be aware of when you feel itchy and apply moisturizer instead to prevent further damage. Also, keeping your nails trimmed might also be useful to help prevent any accidental scratches.
When looking for a good moisturizer, search for something designed for very dry, sensitive skin. Look for ingredients such as urea or lactic acid to help to draw moisture into your skin. Added oils or lanolin help to smooth skin and create a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
It’s also important to be careful about what you’re wearing on your skin. You can reduce irritation by wearing clothes made of soft materials and avoiding any scratchy fabrics or tags.
When you live with a chronic condition, it’s normal to sometimes feel like you don’t want to reach out for help or advice. Psoriasis can be very challenging to live with — there are people to help you.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on medications and treatments that might be right for you. They can also help you establish a moisturizing routine that works with the treatment you’re on. If you have questions about the ingredients used in a moisturizer, your pharmacist is an expert.
Support groups are full of real-life knowledge and experience. It’s a chance to learn from others and share your story, too. You may be able to find an in-person support group near you. If not, you can join an online group through the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).
Managing a chronic disease such as psoriasis can be a roller coaster ride. When your psoriasis is advanced, it can be challenging to find the right treatment.
There’s something out there to keep your symptoms under control. Continue to work with your healthcare team — they’re there to help you feel your best.