8 Tips to Care for Your Psoriasis

Medicines are best, but you can do some things to treat your psoriasis without a prescription.

Tip 1: Keep Skin Moist

What’s the best way? Apply thick lotions or creams then seal in the moisture with ointments like petroleum jelly (Vaseline), shortening, or olive oil. Do it regularly. Dry skin makes the irritation and itchiness worse.

Don't go too thick during hot, sticky summer months. Sweat mixed with thick creams can make your psoriasis worse.

Right after your bath or shower, pat yourself somewhat dry with a towel -- don't rub -- and put the creams on to seal in water.

Before you hop into bed, wrap your 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. To keep that from happening you can:

  • Make sure the water’s not too hot. Lukewarm is best.
  • Add salts, oil, or finely ground oatmeal to bath water after you've soaked for a minute to soothe your skin. Plain water can suck out moisture.
  • 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 you need to do it. If your doctor prescribes creams or ointments, make them part of your daily routine.

Tip 4: Get Some Sun

Its light can treat your skin condition, but sunburns make it worse. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher with zinc oxide on areas of skin that don't have psoriasis. Limit how much sun you get. Twenty minutes a day 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 the habit makes worse. In one study, people who smoked more than a pack a day were twice as likely to have a serious case as those who smoked half a pack or less. The effects were even stronger in women who already had psoriasis.

Kicking the habit is one of the best things you can do to care for your condition.

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Tip 6: Drink Booze Moderately or Not at All

Psoriasis is more common in people who drink heavily. Alcohol may affect men's psoriasis more than women's. How much is too much? More than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Tip 7: Consider Diet Changes

There’s no solid evidence that any one food makes the disease better or worse. At the same time, many say their sores improved after they cut back on foods like sugar, white flour, gluten, and caffeine. It won’t hurt to try, especially if you cut out not-so-healthy foods.

Tip 8: Tend to Your Mental Health

Don’t let your condition hurt your self-esteem. Ask for help if you find it's taking a toll on your mood. Talk to a therapist, like a psychologist or social worker.

You could also join a support group. Time with other people who understand what you're going through can help.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on November 15, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "What is Psoriasis?"

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Sunlight and Other Psoriasis Treatments," "Time to Kick the Habit? Thinking Twice About Alcohol and Cigarettes," "Treatment Overview," "Your Diet and Psoriasis: Maintaining Overall Well-Being," "Itch Relief."

USCF: "Sunblock."

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