Medicines for psoriasis are often invaluable in controlling symptoms. But there are plenty of natural ways to treat psoriasis, too. Try these eight tips to help manage your psoriasis at home.
Psoriasis Self-Care Tip 1: Keep Skin Moist
Using moisturizer is an important part of self-care for psoriasis. Dry skin makes irritation and itchiness caused by psoriasis worse than it needs to be. A vicious cycle can result: dry skin can cause itching and scratching, leading to new psoriasis patches developing on the irritated skin.
The best way to keep skin moist? Apply thick ointments like petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or heavy skin creams everywhere you can reach. Pat yourself dry and put on ointment immediately after getting out of the shower.
If it's not uncomfortable, at bedtime, cover a patch of skin with ointment, and wrap it with a bandage or plastic wrap overnight. In the morning, wash the area gently. Over time, this can reduce scaling.
Psoriasis Self-Care Tip 2: Bathe, but Beware
Bathing can be another important part of psoriasis self-care, yet frequent bathing can also dry out skin, causing problems. A few tips for bathing with psoriasis:
- Avoid hot water, which can irritate skin. Use lukewarm water instead.
- Don’t towel off -- pat yourself dry, then apply moisturizer.
- Pure water dries skin. Add bathing salts, oil, or oilated oatmeal to bathwater to make it more skin-friendly.
Psoriasis Self-Care Tip 3: Stick to the Plan
It can be messy and inconvenient to slather thick goo onto psoriasis patches, day after day. But consistency is key. If you’ve been prescribed topical therapy, making it part of your routine can improve results. Also, topical therapies avoid the potential side effects of pills or injection treatments for psoriasis.
Psoriasis Self-Care Tip 4: Get Some Sun, With Care
The ultraviolet light found in sunlight is a proven treatment for psoriasis, but sunburns can make psoriasis worse. Cover unaffected skin with a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, and start with some limited sun exposure. Twenty minutes a day for three days a week can be a good start. Talk to your doctor first, because certain psoriasis medicines aren’t safe with high sun exposure. Be sure to protect your eyes from the sun, as well. Wear sunglasses, and make sure they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Psoriasis Self-Care Tip 5: Quit Smoking
You can add psoriasis to the long list of health conditions made worse by smoking. In one study, people who smoked more than a pack a day were twice as likely to have severe psoriasis as those who smoked half a pack or less. Smoking’s negative effect was even stronger in women with psoriasis.
Experts agree that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to care for your psoriasis. Don’t forget that quitting smoking also reduces your risk of heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and a host of other health conditions.