Skin care plays an important role in managing psoriasis. It’s often possible to keep psoriasis under control by following some basic rules.
Though psoriasis can vary greatly from one person to another, these skin care strategies often help:
- Keep skin moist. Over-the-counter moisturizers are an important part of psoriasis skin care. Moisturizers can lessen the itchiness and redness of skin affected by psoriasis and also address the drying effect of psoriasis treatments. The most effective skin care products for people with psoriasis are ointments, which tend to be heavier than lotion or cream moisturizers. Your doctor may suggest using a lotion or cream during the day, while reserving ointments for nighttime skin care. Covering the treated area overnight with plastic wrap is sometimes suggested to create an airtight seal that increases the effectiveness of the ointments and reduces their messiness. If you use petroleum jelly, keep in mind that it may interfere with the effectiveness of light therapyfor psoriasis and shouldn’t be applied immediately before treatment.
- Take a therapeutic bath. Oils, epsom, or Dead Sea salts, and colloidal oatmeal (oatmeal that is ground into a fine powder and used as an infusion in a bath) are widely recommended for soothing the itching and irritation associated with psoriasis. According to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, there is not enough evidence to recommend colloidal oatmeal specifically for easing the symptoms of psoriasis, but the FDA does give the go-ahead for similar conditions and notes there have been no adverse effects from its use. Bathing for too long in water enhanced with colloidal oatmeal, however, may make skin overly dry. Since oatmeal, oil, and any combination of the two may make your tub slippery, take care getting in and out of the bath and use a non-slip bathmat.
- Try a coal tar product. Coal tar is a byproduct of coal, and its use as a skin care treatment dates back more than 2,000 years. Coal tar is effective in controlling mild to moderate cases of psoriasis, particularly in shampoos used to treat scalp psoriasis. Your doctor may suggest that you use coal tar alone or along with ultraviolet therapy or steroids. Coal tar comes in several forms, including ointments, creams, lotions, shampoos, bath oils, and soaps. The disadvantage of coal tar is that it’s messy and smelly and can stain fabrics. You probably will be advised to use it in the evening, while wearing old clothes and using old bed sheets.The chief side effect reported with using skin care products containing coal tar is contact irritant dermatitis (a rash at the site of contact with the tar). Tar also can also cause folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicle, which in severe cases can require treatment. Don’t use an airtight seal to cover a tar-based treatment, as this can increase the risk of folliculitis.
- Consider salicylic acid treatment. Salicylic acid, similar but not identical to the active ingredient in aspirin, is commonly found in over-the-counter products marketed to control psoriasis, acne, and other skin conditions. It is effective in helping the body slough off the scales common with skin psoriasis. But in large doses, salicylic acid can irritate the skin or leach through the skin in toxic levels. source