It's important to keep the skin clean around the affected psoriasis areas to prevent infection. In addition, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent psoriasis. Below are some home remedies to cleanse the irritated skin and reduce itching and other symptoms -- and hopefully reduce your number of psoriasis outbreaks.
Take a soak. Showering, swimming, soaking in a tub, and applying wet compresses all can rehydrate very dry skin and help soften and remove thick psoriasis scales without damaging the skin. Since thick scaling can act as a barrier to both medications and ultraviolet light, it's important to gently remove as much scale as possible. Regular soaking also helps reduce itching and redness of lesions. Keep the water tepid rather than hot (hot water can increase itching).
While soaking helps remove plaque scales, however, be aware that frequent wetting and drying also removes the skin's oils, its natural protection against moisture loss. Therefore, to get the benefits of soaking without overdrying the skin, be sure to moisturize with a heavy emollient immediately (within three minutes) after soaking, washing, or wetting your skin.
Moisturize. Dry skin can crack, bleed, and become infected, so it's important to keep your skin from drying out. Moisturizing not only helps prevent dry skin, it also reduces inflammation, helps maintain flexibility (dried plaques can make moving certain parts of the body difficult), helps keep psoriasis from getting worse, and makes plaque scales less noticeable. The heaviest, or greasiest, moisturizers work best at locking water into the skin -- ingredients like lactic acid seem to work best. Or you can use cooking oils, lard, or petrolatum. Apply a moisturizer right after you step out of a bath or shower. It helps your body hold onto natural oils and water. Thick moisturizers like Eucerin, Aquaphor, and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream are all effective. But inexpensive alternatives, such as cooking oils, lard, or petroleum jelly, offer equally strong protection.
Humidify. Dry indoor air is associated with dry skin, which is bad news for psoriasis sufferers. Use a room humidifier to raise the humidity.
Be careful with medications. Certain medications, including antimalarials, beta blockers (such as Inderal), lithium, and others, can worsen psoriasis in some people. Be sure all of the doctors who treat you know about your skin condition, and if a current medication appears to be aggravating your psoriasis, discuss with your doctor the possibility of a reduced dosage or alternative medication.
Choose soaps carefully. Harsh soaps can dry and irritate the skin and increase itching, so opt for a mild soap instead. Many mild, "superfatted" soaps that contain moisturizers, such as Basis, Alpha Keri, Purpose, Nivea Cream Bar, and Oilatum, are available. You can also choose one of the many soap-free cleansers, such as Lowilla Cake, Aveeno Cleansing Bar, or pHisoDerm Dry Skin Formula, if your skin is already dry and irritated. If you're not sure which product to choose, ask your pharmacist or doctor for recommendations. And no matter what product you choose, be sure to rinse off well and then apply moisturizer immediately to prevent itching and drying.
Use skin products carefully. Psoriasis causes the skin to be unusually susceptible to irritating substances, so use products such as hair dyes, perms, or straighteners with caution. Use potential irritants only when your skin is relatively free of lesions, and avoid them altogether if you have open wounds.
Avoid injuring your skin. Even mild injuries such as sunburn, scratches, and irritation from tight clothing can cause or worsen psoriasis. Dermatologists call this psoriasis trigger "the Koebner phenomenon."
Slim down. Being overweight makes psoriasis more uncomfortable and harder to control.
Treat infections pronto. Systemic infections like strep throat (streptococcal infections) can trigger psoriasis flares in some people. Contact your doctor at the earliest sign of infection (such as sore throat or fever).
While there currently is no cure for psoriasis, there are simple, nautral treatments and self-help steps that make living with psoriasis easier. See the next section for home remedies used by many people with psoriasis. With your doctor's approval, try some or all of them to create a self-care regimen that works for you.
To learn more about other skin issues, visit the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- For information about treating dry skin naturally, visit our Home Remedies for Dry Skin section.
- Battling limp locks? Read the Home Remedies for Dry Hair page.
- To read about treatments for an oily face, check out the Home Remedies for Oily Skin section.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.