A person with psoriasis may wish to add certain steps to their skin care routine. By following specific skin care techniques, individuals could help alleviate their symptoms and prevent flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms.

Psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that causes plaques to appear on the skin. An overactive immune system causes the skin cells to grow too quickly, resulting in scaly plaques forming on the skin.

Treatments for psoriasis involve medications and therapies that aim to either treat existing plaques, prevent new ones from forming, or slow or stop disease progression.

To help aid treatment, a person can take several steps at home to help reduce the severity of the plaques and hinder or prevent new ones from forming. This article discusses several different tips for caring for psoriasis-affected skin and things to avoid.

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A warm bath can provide temporary relief to psoriasis. However, soaking for long periods of time could worsen symptoms. Instead, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) recommends:

  • having only one bath or shower a day
  • limiting baths to no more than 15 minutes
  • limiting showers to no more than 5 minutes
  • using only warm water, not hot water
  • using only mild detergents and soaps with bare hands only and making sure to rinse the soap off thoroughly
  • gently patting the skin dry
  • applying a fragrance-free moisturizer to the skin

Learn about the potential benefits of bathing with Dead Sea salt.

Moisturizing the skin can help provide symptom relief for itching and flaking. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends avoiding moisturizers that contain added fragrances, dyes, or chemicals. This includes avoiding products with essential oils.

Although there are no recommendations for how often to apply moisturizer each day, a person should consider applying it after a bath, shower, or washing their hands. They should also consider using it as needed throughout the day.

Learn how to improve skin moisture with wet wraps.

Light therapy, or UVB phototherapy, can be an effective therapy for psoriasis. A dermatologist can prescribe and supervise this therapy. Depending on a person’s needs, it can include full body or targeted treatment.

An individual may have the option to go to the doctor’s office for this therapy or undergo it at home. When applying the therapy at home, a person should follow all instructions from a healthcare professional.

For some people, sunlight can also be effective as a natural form of light therapy. However, the National Psoriasis Foundation states that sunlight is not as effective as phototherapy. Additionally, an individual needs to practice caution when in the sun, as some medications can increase the risk of sunburn.

A person interested in light therapy should speak with their doctor about suitable light therapy options.

Learn about at-home phototherapy for psoriasis.

Research has shown that stress can both cause psoriasis flares and increased symptom severity.

To help manage stress, a person may consider:

  • asking their doctor about medications that may help
  • speaking with a professional counselor
  • engaging in physical activity or exercise

Before starting a new exercise program, people need to speak with their doctor.

Learn natural remedies for managing stress and anxiety.

Dietary changes may help reduce psoriasis symptoms on the skin. However, there is no single diet that can treat psoriasis directly.

Instead, the AADA recommends a person follow a nutritious diet. The organization also mentions that the following three diets may be helpful for psoriasis symptoms:

  • Mediterranean diet: This diet contains many anti-inflammatory foods that may help reduce overall inflammation in the body, though more research is necessary to understand fully how and if it works.
  • Nutritious diet: People with psoriasis may help reduce their symptoms by maintaining a moderate weight through a nutritious diet. They can speak with a doctor or dietitian about creating a suitable nutritious diet.
  • Gluten-free diet: This diet may help individuals who have a gluten sensitivity or allergy who are also living with psoriasis.

Some people find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. However, these foods may vary from person to person. To identify which foods may be causing flare-ups, an individual can keep a food diary and track any symptoms that occur after eating certain foods.

Learn more about how diet can affect psoriasis.

When living with psoriasis, avoiding certain activities or ingredients can help manage symptoms. The following are some tips on what to avoid if a person has psoriasis.

Products with chemicals and additives

Skin and hair care products often include additives, such as fragrances, chemicals, and dyes. Products containing these ingredients can irritate a person’s psoriasis and worsen symptoms.

Therefore, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends avoiding products with additives. It also suggests speaking with a doctor before using any new topical or skin care product.

Alcohol and smoking

Research shows that smoking increases the risk of psoriasis and comorbidities. A 2020 study also indicates smoking can increase the risk of nail involvement in psoriasis.

Additionally, other research suggests alcohol consumption negatively affects a person’s symptoms. In a 2019 study, researchers noted that alcohol can initiate and exacerbate inflammation in the body, which can cause symptoms to flare.

Picking or scratching

Picking and scratching psoriasis patches can worsen symptoms. Instead, the AADA recommends that people can relieve itching by:

  • using a cold compress
  • following treatment recommendations from a doctor
  • avoiding hot showers or baths
  • using moisturizer when they feel itchy
  • using products to help remove scales
  • applying anti-itch creams

Learn more about why psoriasis itches and how to stop it safely.

A person with psoriasis may find that establishing a routine can help with managing their symptoms at home. Although their daily schedules may vary, individuals can consider their plans for the day and adapt their routines accordingly.

The below are steps that people can fit into their day to help manage psoriasis.

MorningApply moisturizer before getting dressed.
Wear loose-fitting clothing that does not aggravate the skin.
Leave enough time to eat a balanced diet before work or school.
Apply sunscreen before spending time outside.
AfternoonApply moisturizer as needed, particularly after washing hands.
Apply additional sunscreen as needed if working or spending time outside.
Eat a balanced lunch.
EveningEat a balanced dinner.
Spend about 30 minutes performing physical activity, for a total of 150 minutes by the end of the week.
Shower for no more than 5 minutes using warm water.
Apply moisturizer to the skin following the shower.
OvernightApply moisturizer before bed.
Speak with a doctor about taking an antihistamine before bed to help with sleep and reduce itchiness.

Psoriasis causes patches of skin to become inflamed and itchy. Treatments can help prevent flare-ups and reduce symptoms, and a person can often take additional steps to reduce symptom severity.

Applying moisturizer, following a nutritious diet, and managing stress can all help individuals with psoriasis improve their skin care routine. Additionally, avoiding alcohol, stopping smoking, and not using products with added chemicals can also help reduce severe symptoms.