Psoriasis: Skin care

Introduction

Key points

  • If you have psoriasis, your skin is very sensitive. To protect your skin, avoid:
    • Skin care products that irritate your skin.
    • Scratching and picking your skin, and skin injuries such as cuts or scrapes.
    • Cold, dry climates. Cold weather makes symptoms worse.
  • The most important thing you can do is to keep your skin moist. Use moisturizing creams, ointments, and lotions.
 

Skin care for psoriasis includes protecting your skin, keeping it moist, and using prescribed medicines.

  • Protect your skin by avoiding harsh skin products, skin injury, and cold climates.
  • Keep your skin moist by using moisturizing creams, ointments, and lotions; taking baths or soaks once a day; or applying creams or lotions and then wrapping the area.
  • Use prescribed medicines by preparing your skin for topical medicines and by following the instructions for skin products and medicines prescribed for you.

Test Your Knowledge

An important part of treatment for psoriasis is to keep your skin moist.

  • True
    This answer is correct.

    Keeping your skin moist is effective in preventing or reducing symptoms of psoriasis.

  • False
    This answer is incorrect.

    Keeping your skin moist is effective in preventing or reducing symptoms of psoriasis.

  •  

Continue to Why?

 

Skin care is important because it can prevent or reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. It can also help prevent infections and injuries to your skin, which can result in flare-ups of symptoms.

Taking care of your skin involves protecting your skin, keeping it moist, and using prescribed medicines. These steps will improve the condition of your skin.

Test Your Knowledge

Skin care can prevent or reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

  • True
    This answer is correct.

    Protecting your skin, keeping it moist, and using prescribed medicines can prevent or reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

  • False
    This answer is incorrect.

    Protecting your skin, keeping it moist, and using prescribed medicines can prevent or reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

  •  

Continue to How?

 

Protect your skin by:

  • Avoiding harsh skin products. For example, use a mild soap (such as Dove, Basis, or Neutrogena) instead of deodorant soaps or other harsh soaps (such as Camay, Lava, or Zest). Avoid lotions that contain alcohol, which can dry the skin and make psoriasis worse.
  • Preventing skin injury. Don't scratch and pick your skin or cuts and scrapes. An injury to the skin can cause psoriasis patches to form anywhere on the body, including the site of the injury. This includes injuries to your nails or nearby skin while trimming your nails. Tight shoes, clothing, watchbands, and hats can also irritate the skin.
  • Avoiding cold climates. Cold, dry weather makes symptoms worse.

Keep your skin moist by:

  • Using moisturizing creams and lotions.
  • Taking baths or soaks once a day to replace skin moisture that may be lost due to cold, dry climates or to drying medicines. You will benefit most by applying an ointment, cream, or lotion within 3 minutes after your bath to seal in moisture. Otherwise, when the water evaporates, it will make your skin even drier. Adding bath oils to your bath water can also help, but this can make the tub slippery. If you add oils to your bath water, be very careful.
  • Using a home humidifier to increase moisture in the air.
  • Applying creams or lotions, then wrapping the area with tape, fabric, or plastic to keep the skin moist (called occlusion therapy).

Use prescribed medicines by:

  • Following the instructions for skin products and medicines prescribed for you.
  • Preparing your skin for topical medicines. Gentle softening and removal of psoriasis crusts and scale can help your skin absorb creams and other skin products. Psoriasis crusts can be removed by gently rubbing cream into the crusts to soften them and then carefully peeling them off.

Test Your Knowledge

Injury to your skin, such as cuts or scrapes, can affect psoriasis.

  • True
    This answer is correct.

    Injury to your skin increases the chances of a psoriasis flare-up or of making psoriasis symptoms worse.

  • False
    This answer is incorrect.

    Injury to your skin increases the chances of a psoriasis flare-up or of making psoriasis symptoms worse.

  •  

Continue to Where?

For more information, see the topic Psoriasis.

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Last Updated: December 26, 2009

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