That's Pso Psoriasis: Skincare & Treatment Routine
Last updated: February 2023
Skincare routines are a consistent part of managing life with psoriasis. Place them right next to dermatologist appointments and skirting around unsolicited advice. For those who don't live psoriasis, a skincare routine may be pretty simple: cleansing, general moisturizing, and perhaps a generic sunscreen. For those who live with this chronic condition, it looks a lot different.
Straight from those who live it
While medication can reduce psoriasis, anything that irritates the skin can cause psoriasis to flare — even with medication. That’s when skincare and avoiding triggers come into play. It takes a significant change in lifestyle and learning about specific products to manage all the symptoms that come with psoriasis.
We asked our own contributors and advocates here at PlaquePsoriasis.com for some words of wisdom when it comes to managing life with psoriasis, specifically for insight into their skincare routine and what's worked for them.
Our question? The psoriasis journey is different for everyone. What does your skincare and treatment routine look like?
Julie: In addition to using my topical medication, I have simplified my skincare and haircare routine. I save makeup for the most special occasions. I wash my face with a mild cleanser and moisturize daily.
Because I wanted to reduce my plastic usage, I switched from bottles of shampoo and conditioner to bars. It may simply be a matter of timing and unrelated to the switch, but my scalp psoriasis has been much better. I have also reduced the amount of heat that I use on my hair and very rarely use additional styling products.
When I shower, I like to use a sea salt soap and moisturize with coconut oil afterward. This reduces my itch. Unless I am getting sweaty or dirty, I try not to shower every day. It's just too drying for my skin. I have found that every other day is usually sufficient for a shower, especially now that I have been at home more during the pandemic.
Gemma: I'm pretty rubbish at skincare but there is one thing that stands true. Moisture y'all! Dry skin leads to cracked skin, and that's not acceptable for anyone. I use water-based moisturizers in summer, and oil-based moisturizers in winter when the air is much drier. I carry lip balm always, not only for my lips but for when I find psoriasis in my eyebrow as I pass a shop window or notice psoriasis has dried out in my hairline.
I treat psoriasis in my ears on a regime I've negotiated with my doctor, but the rest of my psoriasis is treated on an as-needed basis. I have plaque psoriasis everywhere but it tends to stay pale as I plod through my daily life. At the first sign of a strep infection, I'll be calling my doctor every morning to get treatment as I flare horrifically with burning lesions of both plaque and guttate psoriasis. I'll use a combination of light therapy and steroids to reign this in and then again, a regime negotiated with my dermatologist to wean myself back to a drug-free daily maintenance schedule.
I mentioned negotiated a few times. That's because sometimes the 'standard' approach just won't work for my life and my skin. I strongly recommend you do negotiate and be super honest with yourself and your doctor because if you don't follow a set regime, your treatment may not work as well as it should, or you may use your prescription in a way that is unsafe. Your doctor would much prefer to tweak your regime safely than you do whatever you want when you get home.
Catherine:Daily, I use Doublebase moisturiser in the morning and Dovonex (calcipotriene) ointment in the evening. I also take methotrexate once per week, which is prescribed for my PsA. The methotrexate did help my psoriasis initially, until I became stressed or got a throat infection – alone, it didn’t seem to be enough to keep my psoriasis under control.
Likewise, the Dovonex didn’t work very well until I added the methotrexate. Combining these two treatments has made a big difference to my psoriasis, although I have to be consistent with them (and the daily moisturizing). I use a coal tar shampoo occasionally when stress or the seasons changing cause my scalp to itch. After a bath, I apply almond or coconut oil to my plaques, before using Doublebase all over.
In the summer, I also use cornstarch powder on any skin folds that are prone to inverse psoriasis. As for skincare, I love La Roche Posay’s Toleriane range. There have been times when even water burned my face, and I was still able to take care of my skin using the Dermo-Cleanser and either the Sensitive Crème or Riche Hydrating Moisturiser.
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Does your psoriasis management change with the seasons?