Have you been using lots of different kinds of creams, lotions, ointments or other preparations on your skin for many years as a psoriasis sufferer? Many of my psoriasis patients have tried just about every kind of skin product on the market to keep their itchy, red and scaly skin under control, some products giving little to no success, others with amazing results.
Sometimes you will find that a particular skin treatment will work well for a while, but then it becomes less effective, or not effective any more. Some psoriasis medications or natural treatments can suddenly even turn therapeutically useless after having found benefit from them for years. Many psoriasis patients have expressed their concerns to me over the many years that I’ve been in practice about potential toxicity regarding the long-term use of their skin care products, and for this reason I only advocate the use of natural and chemical-free products.
Many psoriasis patients have their usual problem skin areas, and these areas can include the less sensitive and the more sensitive skin areas such as the genitals as well as the scalp, palms of the hands and the soles of feet. Long before a person will have developed psoriasis in these sensitive areas, they will have accumulated several prescription as well as over-the-counter (OTC) treatments.
Treating the skin only if you have psoriasis is very short-sighted, it is important to treat the surface of the skin because it will help to reduce the inflammation, heal the skin’s tissues thereby preventing infection and relieve that itching. Effective and regular skin treatments will also ensure that scales are removed regularly and prevent unnecessary
You must never forget however that the source or cause of the actual irritation needs to be tackled on a deeper level, and you will find plenty of information in The Psoriasis Program aimed at targeting the cleansing of the liver, kidneys and large intestine particularly. Follow my Psoriasis Diet information, adopt the Psoriasis Lifestyle, take the specialized foods and natural medicines to aid in your recovery from psoriasis and use the best natural medicines topically. This amounts to a truly holistic Psoriasis Program, and is what I believe (based on my 26 years of clinical experience) to be the best way to finally achieve a permanent psoriasis solution.
This page contains some of the best psoriasis skin care treatments, popular skin care treatments favoured by many people with moderate to chronic psoriasis. The treatments are in no particular order, and are based on how effective my psoriasis patients have found them to moisturize skin, reduce redness, fight the incessant itching and reduce or even eliminate the scaling.
1) Moisturizing Products: Moisturizing is one of the most important things you can do for your skin if you have psoriasis. You will find that creams and ointments are more hydrating than lotions. You don’t need to use those petrochemical based options such as Vaseline, Bio Oil or Eucerin either. Try either Jojoba or Emu oil, these are much more natural and are completely chemical-free. It makes sense to avoid dry skin when you have psoriasis, because dry skin can be “angry” skin. You will find a lot of benefit from moisturizing after a bath or shower particularly, and with regular application will learn that a well moisturized skin is much less vulnerable to developing new lesions.
2) Hydrocortisone Creams: Steroid creams are very popular with many psoriasis patients, and there is no doubt – they work at relieving the itch in particular. There are many different OTC brands available, like Lanacort and Cortaid. Doctors often recommend low-strength hydrocortisone cream for all manner of chronic skin conditions, because they are so versatile. Long-term and excessive use should be avoided, especially on the very sensitive areas like the face and neck because steroid creams have been known to create many unwanted side-effects, including thinning skin. I’m no fan of these creams and prefer my psoriasis patients to avoid their use in the first place.
3) Coal Tar: I have found that not that many people may want to smell like a coal tar pit, and by using natural skin care products you will be exuding a subtle natural or even exotic fragrance, making the whole experience that much more pleasurable. But in saying that, I don’t mind the smell of coal tar so much personally, and it’s hard to argue with the results that many of my psoriasis patients seem to get with coal tar based skin care products. There are many OTC coal tar products available, including Tegrin, Denorex and ointments such as MG 217. Sometimes it can be hard to get hold of coal tar skin care preparations, and you may find coal tar soap OK to use. Coal tar works by slowing the growth of skin cells commonly found in those with psoriasis, and in addition helps to reduce any inflammation and itching as well.
4) Oatmeal Baths and Soap: Oatmeal has a wonderful soothing action on inflamed and itching skin, and the oatmeal you use is not unlike the oats you use for breakfast. You can place a few cups of oatmeal in a muslin cloth and suspend it in a warm bath, a treatment that is especially helpful if you have many lesions covering larger areas of your body. You can get hold of a product like Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment or use Oatmeal Soap as well, both products will help to calm inflamed skin and make it easier to shed those scales that many psoriasis patients have. Oatmeal is not a “cure” product necessarily, but can certainly help to soothe.
5) Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is not only an excellent herbal medicine for digestive problems, especially the large intestine, it is also a very good choice for healing the skin.If you have psoriasis then I’d encourage you to grow this simple plant. Just be careful in the winter, Aloe vera does not take too kindly to frost and will die in sub-zero temperatures. Once you start using the pulp of the fresh leaf on your skin, you will find many uses for this remarkable plant. All you need to do is cut off one of the leaves, peel the green skin back and rub the gel onto your lesions or skin areas affected. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that aloe has a very positive effect on psoriasis. I have found many different psoriasis patients over the years to give me positive feedback, not just in the soothing and healing effect the pulp has on the skin, but also in aloe’s ability to relieve itching. This is one skin treatment you most certainly will want to try with psoriasis because it is cheap, effective and drug-free. Why pay good money for a commercial aloe skin preparation, often full of chemicals, when you can grow your own?
6) Witch Hazel: Did you know that the distilled bark extract from a plant known as Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is used in Germany as a mainstay skin treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis? Witch hazel has a tonifying effect on the skin and is know to have a significant anti-inflammatory as well as soothing action. You can buy a bottle at a reasonable price at your chemist and give it a try. Witch Hazel products are traditionally made through a distillation resulting in a product with alcohol in different percentages for preservation. Be careful, the alcohol may be too drying on your skin, make therefore sure that the Witch Hazel you get is alcohol free. I’ve seen it available in a vegetable glycerine formula and also in aqueous formulations (water-based).
7) Salicylic acid: Are you looking for a skin peeling product? Then try a preparation with salicylic acid in it, because it works by helping the outer layer of the shed skin cells. Many psoriasis patients have shared with me their concerns about those skin plaques that just seem to keep on accumulating lots of cells until they form thick layers of crusts. Salicylic acid is kwon as a scale lifter because it helps to soften those plaques, thereby causing their easier removal. Caution is needed however, because it has been known to irritate the skin if it is applied in too high a concentration and left on the skin for too long. You may even find that it leads to temporary hair loss as well, especially when applied around the scalp. There is a product known as Head and Shoulders shampoo or Oxy Clean (soap) that both contain a 2 percent salicylic acid content. You can get salicylic acid products in higher concentrations on prescription, but caution is necessary!
8) Methol Spray: This is a great choice for irritated and especially skin that is hot and uncomfortable. Methol comes from various plant sources, like peppermint, and you may even find that peppermint tea bags when applied at certain sites of irritated skin may have a calming and sooting effect. Here is a menthol containing spray called Eucerin that has slight anesthetic properties to help relieve the itching. I’ve seen menthol creams and lotions as well, and these menthol products are all worthy of a try. The spray is the most convenient however, especially if you travel.
9) Portable UV Lamp: You can get these easily online, and once you get used to the healing power of UV light you will be wanting to use this therapy regularly, especially in winter when there isn’t much sun about. Be careful with a sunlamp that you don’t overexpose your skin to too much light, because you may be increasing your risk of skin cancer as well. Patients will find these small portable lamps useful especially for the smaller areas like the feet, hands or spot treatments on the arms, legs or torso. Less exposure is better than too much, and you will be surprised just how effective a UVB sunlamp can be with small amounts of regular use, especially when used in conjunction with my other recommendations in The Psoriasis Program.
10) Cosmetics: Did you know that you can get different kinds of specialized skin concealers like Dermablend or Covermark? These don’t cure your psoriasis, but there will be those times when you want to go out with family or friends without advertising the fact that you have psoriasis. You will find this a neat solution when used sparingly on the most obvious areas such as the face, hands and neck. You are best not to mask any lesions that are cracked, painful or open because this may increase your risk of a skin infection and potentially cause pain like stinging. Caution is advised with cosmetics when you have psoriasis, but when used carefully and applied intelligently you will be delighted with the result! It would pay to consul a professional make-up artist with lots of experience, because she will be familiar with all kinds of skin and skin problems and be able to guide you to the best products and how to apply them.