8 Tips to Care for Your Psoriasis
Medicines are best, but there are things you can do to treat your psoriasis without a prescription.
Tip 1: Keep Skin Moist
Use a moisturizer regularly. Dry skin makes the irritation and itchiness worse.
The best way to keep your skin moist? Apply thick ointments like petroleum jelly (Vaseline), shortening, olive oil, or heavy skin creams.
Don't go too thick during hot, sticky summer months. Sweat mixed with thick creams can make your psoriasis worse. Pat yourself dry and put the creams on right after bathing to seal in water.
Before hopping into bed, wrap your slathered-up skin with a bandage or plastic wrap. In the morning, wash the area gently. Over time, this can reduce scaling.
Tip 2: Bathe With Care
Too many baths and showers can dry your skin. Here are a few suggestions:
- Don't use hot water, which can irritate. Use lukewarm water instead.
- Don't towel off by rubbing. Pat yourself somewhat dry and then apply cream.
- Plain water can dry your skin. Add salts, oil, or finely ground oatmeal to bath water after you've soaked for a minute to soothe your skin.
- Take fewer showers and baths. They can strip your skin of natural oils. Bathe every other day or every third day, especially during the winter months.
Tip 3: Stick to the Plan
It can be messy and tough to slather thick goo onto psoriasis patches day after day, but consistency is key. If your doctor prescribes creams or ointments to put on your skin, make it part of your routine.
Tip 4: Get Some Sun
Ultraviolet light from the sun can treat your psoriasis, but sunburns make it worse. Cover the areas of your skin that don't have psoriasis with a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, but limit how much sun you get. Twenty minutes a day for 3 days a week is a good start. Talk to your doctor first though, since some medicines aren't safe when combined with lots of sun.
Tip 5: Quit Smoking
You can add psoriasis to the long list of health problems that smoking makes worse. In one study, people who smoked more than a pack a day were twice as likely to have serious psoriasis as those who smoked half a pack or less. Smoking's bad effect was even stronger in women who already had the skin condition.
Experts agree that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to care for your psoriasis. Don't forget that quitting also lowers your risks for heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health conditions.