Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an inflammatory response in our skin cells. It can happen anywhere on the body, affecting any part of your skin – even your scalp. It presents as raised, scaly patches that are typically a different colour and thicker texture than other areas of skin.
Board-certified Dr Luke Maxfield states, ’Psoriasis does have some unique characteristics in that it is elevated, vibrant, vivid, salmon-pink plaques on the skin. They’re raised up and they have a silvery scale.’ According to Dr Luke: ’The symptoms tend to be moderate itching at worst, mild itching more commonly, but otherwise, maybe irritation.'
Psoriasis can occur at any age and there is no permanent cure, however there are many steps that can help to decrease the effects, alongside treatment creams prescribed by your GP or pharmacist. Dr Luke advises, ‘If you have psoriasis, just taking care of your skin and maintaining a healthy skin barrier could in theory help offset and decrease flare-ups’.
From my pharmaceutical experience, a simple, soothing skincare routine packed with hydrating ingredients can help keep the skin moisturised and maintain a healthy skin barrier while working to reduce the feel of discomfort.
Here are my top 6 psoriasis products to help you manage your condition:
Washing your hair with a tar-based shampoo, such as the Neutrogena 4% Neutar Shampoo, can help provide relief from itching and flaking. Scalp psoriasis can occur alone or in combination with another form of psoriasis and can be mistaken for severe dandruff. Using this shampoo can help alleviate the scalp (even after rinsing the hair) by breaking down thick scaling.
- Apply this treatment once or twice weekly and massage into your wet scalp. Leave for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
- Tar-based treatments tend to have anti-inflammatory and anti-scaling properties.
- Use a leave-in hair conditioner on days that you don’t use this T/Gel shampoo to help maintain the texture of your hair between treatments.
This intensively moisturising balm consists of comforting ceramides and a prebiotic oat complex, plus glycerin to help nourish and soften dry or flaky skin. It can even be used while on-the-move if you’re having a particularly troublesome flare-up.
- Apply a thin layer at least once a day and massage gently onto your skin.
- Colloidal oatmeal is a great ingredient to help soothe dry, itchy skin.
- Balms have a thicker texture so this may be a better option for extremely dry patches.
- Fragrance-free formulas are your best bet – they are said to be less irritating on psoriasis-prone skin.
When it comes to over the counter psoriasis treatments, Dr Luke recommends salicylic acid as your first point of call. He explains, “With psoriasis you have a very thickened epidermis, and along with that thickened skin comes that textural change, and it’s almost like an extra barrier. Salicylic acid can soften that up in a way.”
For larger psoriasis plaques, CeraVe’s Salicylic Acid Smoothing Cream is a perfect gentle exfoliator. Formulated with salicylic acid and lactic acid alongside hyaluronic acid and ceramides, the formula works to help remove dead skin build-up and leave scaly patches feeling smoother.
- Apply this moisturiser daily to help soften coarse patches of psoriasis.
- Lipid-rich ceramides present in this moisturiser help to nourish the skin and resist further dryness whilst strengthening the skin barrier.
- Cream products are suitable for widespread psoriasis.
If you prefer a lighter formulation instead of a thicker cream, try the Uriage Keratosane 30 Cream-Gel. This exfoliating moisturiser contains 30% urea to help retain moisture in the skin. The concentrated formula can be used on your body to soften drier patches that may occur, such as the elbows or knees.
- Apply this cream-gel twice a day or as required on affected areas. You may experience temporary tingling sensations as the product starts to work. If irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately.
- This formulation is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, meaning it resists blocking your pores.
Our skin's natural moisture barrier can become disrupted with certain body washes, potentially triggering the itch-scratch cycle that contributes to flare-ups. Try adding a scoop of the Westlab mineral-rich Dead Sea Salt into your bath to help keep skin smooth and hydrated between flare-ups.
Make time in your schedule for a relaxing bath after a stressful day. Dr Luke explains how psoriasis, “can definitely be triggered internally through stress”, so it’s important to listen to your body and take care of its needs.
- Use Westlab Dead Sea Salt at least once, if not twice, a week.
- Use lukewarm water in the bath instead of hot. Afterwards, apply moisturiser while your skin is still damp to help lock in moisture.
- Avoid using bath salts during psoriasis flare-ups until your skin has recovered.
It is really important to apply SPF as the last step in your skincare routine. Sunburn can trigger psoriasis, therefore using a hypoallergenic, broad-spectrum suncream can help to prevent flare-ups. Perricone MD’s mineral zinc oxide-based suncream is ideal for sensitive skin and is formulated with 99% CBD oil to deliver antioxidant benefits.
- CBD can help to soothe, calm and moisturise dry or flaky skin.
- Avoid suncream on any inflamed, open skin or during a flare-up.
- Some medication taken by psoriasis patients can increase sun sensitivity so please apply an SPF daily.
I am always keen to try new beauty products and love keeping up with the latest beauty trends and launches – it helps me to feel and look my best as a healthcare professional. I like to keep my skincare routine full of skin-beneficial ingredients. At the moment I’m enjoying the Indeed Labs Hydraluron range and Clinique’s three-step Anti-Blemish range.