What is Psoriasis and the Best Psoriasis Treatment at Mayo Clinic

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How to Choose a Moisturizer for Psoriasis

Three Methods:

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes skin cells to build up on the surface of the skin and can lead to the development of thick, itchy, and dry skin. One way to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with psoriasis is to moisturize your skin regularly. In order to choose a moisturizer that is effective for psoriasis treatment you should read the ingredients carefully, and consider the type of moisturizers available. You can also look into using other topical skin treatments.


Considering the Ingredients

  1. Use fragrance and alcohol free products.Psoriasis is often characterized by irritated skin and as a result you should always use products that are fragrance and alcohol free. These ingredients can actually increase dryness and itchiness by exacerbating skin problems.
    • To ensure that a moisturizer is fragrance free read the entire list of ingredients. Avoid products that include Parfum and fragrance.
    • Avoid products that contain SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Try a moisturizer that contains aloe vera.Aloe vera extract cream can help treat the effects of psoriasis. Apply the cream directly to the skin. This will help to reduce redness, scaling, itching, and inflammation. In order to see the effects, you may need to apply this cream multiple times per day for approximately a month.
    • Aloe vera can be found in a variety of moisturizers and can also be purchased on its own.
    • Read the ingredients on moisturizers in order to find one that contains aloe vera cream.
    • You can even grow an aloe vera plant at home and use it any time by just breaking off a leaf of the plant and squeezing it.
  3. Look for a moisturizer that contains sea buckthorn oil or neem oil.Natural oils, such as sea buckthorn oil and neem oil can help to alleviate and prevent the skin irritations often associated with psoriasis. For instance, sea buckthorn oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat dry and damaged skin. Similarly, neem oil helps to soften and moisten dry and cracked skin.
    • These products can be purchased from your local drug store or online.

Deciding on a Type of Moisturizer

  1. Consider a cream or ointment.Many dermatologists will recommend a heavy/thick moisturizing cream or ointment instead of a lotion for treating psoriasis. This is because thicker creams will lock water into the skin, allowing the moisturizing effects to last longer.
    • You may want to ask your dermatologist: "What type of moisturizer do you recommend to treat my psoriasis?", "Should I use a cream, ointment, or lotion?"
  2. Try using coconut oil as a moisturizer.You may want to consider using extra virgin coconut oil, instead of cream, as a form of moisturizer. Oils can be preferable to creams because they help to prevent the evaporation of water from your skin and the moisturizing effects can last for up to eight hours. In order to use coconut oil as a moisturizer for psoriasis follow these tips:
    • Use coconut oil on plaque psoriasis spots in the morning after showering.
    • Heat the coconut oil in warm water in order to make it easier to rub into your skin.
    • Apply liberal amounts of oil to affected areas.
    • Reapply throughout the day if the skin begins to tighten and dry out.
  3. Avoid moisturizing lotions.Lotions are not as useful as creams or ointments when moisturizing with psoriasis. This is because most lotions are very thin and contain a lot of water. Although lotions are absorbed into the skin quickly, they do not have long lasting benefits.
    • If you do use a moisturizing lotion, you will have to reapply the moisturizer more frequently throughout the day.
  4. Experiment with multiple moisturizers.In order to find a moisturizer that works well, you may need to experiment with a variety of different oils, creams, and ointments. In many ways this will be a process of elimination until you find one that helps keep your skin moist. You can reapply moisturizers throughout the day and do not need to stick with one particular moisturizer. For example, you may find that you like using an ointment in the morning but a lighter lotion before getting into bed.

Finding Alternative Skin Treatments

  1. Talk with your doctor or dermatologist.When you are diagnosed with psoriasis, you should talk with your doctor or dermatologist about different skin care options. Ask your doctor to recommend skin care products such as moisturizers that can help to alleviate and prevent some of the symptoms associated with psoriasis.
    • You should always talk with your doctor before you make changes to your skincare routine.
    • For example you may want to say "I am considering trying a new moisturizer to help ease the symptoms of my psoriasis. Do you have any recommendations?"
    • You could also say "I have tried these three products with little success. Are there any other options you would suggest?"
  2. Consider over the counter topical treatments.You can also look into a number of over the counter topical treatments for psoriasis that are placed directly on the skin. For example, coal tar and salicylic acid have both been approved by the Federation of Drug Administration as treatment for psoriasis. Coal tar works by slowing the growth of skin cells and restoring the skin’s appearance. It can also help to reduce itching, inflammation and scaling that result from psoriasis. Similarly, salicylic acid works by causing the outer layer of skin to peel away, which can remove psoriasis scales. Some side effects include:
    • Coal tar: Can irritate, redden, and dry the skin and should be used in combination with a moisturizer. The tar can also stain clothing. It will also make your skin more sensitive to sun damage. Coal tar is a time honored treatment of psoriasis. However, cleaner methods of treatment have become more popular today.
    • Salicylic acid: Can cause hair loss and may cause skin irritation if left on the skin too long.
  3. Try Steroid creams or ointments.Topical steroid creams and ointments can also be used as anti-inflammatory agents that help to reduce swelling and redness. They are the mainstay for the topical treatment of psoriasis. When using steroid creams, apply a small amount directly to the affected area only. Always speak with your doctor or dermatologist before using a steroid cream to treat psoriasis.
    • Steroids can have a number of side effects including: Skin thinning, change in pigmentation, bruising, and dilated blood vessels.
    • If applied to a large area of skin over a long period of time, steroids can also affect internal organs.
    • A typical regimen involves a twice daily application of the corticosteroid over the treatment area. Lower potency steroid should be used on the face and intertriginous  areas.

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  • Emollients are affordable products that can be applied to skin that is psoriatic. Keeping skin soft and moist is important in the treatment of the disease. This will help to minimize itching and tenderness, while maintaining proper skin hydration.
  • Emollients that are recommended are thick emollients like Vaseline and thick creams.
  • Another way to keep your skin moist is by using a humidifier in your home.
  • Apply moisturizer several times a day during periods of cold weather.
  • Apply moisturizers after a bath or shower and while your skin is still wet. This will enhance the moisturizing effects.

Video: Dr. Joel Schlessinger Shares Top Treatments for Psoriasis

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