Psoriasis Itch Is Unique
Itchy skin is not uncommon with psoriasis. I have certainly found that it is not so much the plaques of psoriasis that cause as much a problem for many as the incessant itch that many experience. In fact, the itching of psoriasis can have an even bigger impact on the quality of life for a person with psoriasis than the visible effects of this chronic skin condition itself. Itching in psoriasis was not taken seriously until only recently, and in the past ten years itching has now become a recognized symptom of psoriasis, found in 70 to 90 percent of psoriasis patients.
Having a psoriasis itch is unlike another kind of skin itch, some of my patients have described it as a burning, tearing and even stinging sensation. Others tell me that it can feel like the aftermath of a mosquito or fire ant bite. Today we know that pain and itch signals travel along different pathways through the spinal cord, because doctors used to be taught that it simply wasn’t possible for psoriasis patients to experience both itch and pain. Dr. Yosipovitch (Professor of Dermatology and Neurobiology at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C.) an expert in itching and skin conditions, has said that people who have psoriasis can routinely experience itching in different places in their body well away from their psoriatic skin lesions. Dr. Yosipovitch has said that there is no correlation between the skin itch severity in psoriasis and the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score.
Several years ago, emphasis was placed on the treatment of skin lesions rather than on the itch, there was little focus on the quality of a psoriasis patient’s life. Psoriasis patients today certainly want relief from itching, and with correct skin treatment you can minimize the effects of skin itch and cope with your psoriasis much more easily on a day-to-day basis.
- What Is Psoriasis Psoriasis Symptoms
- What Causes Psoriasis
- Types of Psoriasis Scalp Psoriasis
- Plaque Psoriasis
- Guttate Psoriasis
- Nail Psoriasis
- Psoriasis vs Eczema
- Natural Psoriasis Treatment
- The Psoriasis Diet
- Foods To Avoid with Psoriasis
- Foods To Eat with Psoriasis
- FREE Psoriasis Food Shopping List
- Psoriasis Skin Treatments and Cream
Try Not To Bathe Every Single Day If You Have Psoriasis
I have found that some psoriasis patients can even want to bathe twice daily, thinking that they are healing the skin faster, when in fact they cause a problem with the skin. You see, your skin will want to dry out after it gets wet, and it can dry out too much if proper care is not taking right afterward. And dry skin can be a real nightmare for someone who suffers from psoriasis because dry skin can mean itchy and cracked skin. Having an itchy skin can lead to yet another flare-up, and so the cycle continues.
There is nothing wrong with taking a shorter shower or bath, and if the weather is not too hot it may pay to have your shower every second day. You could even hand wash some parts of your body, avoiding any areas which are currently flared up which will save them from getting too wet (and drying out afterward).
Moisturize After Your Bath Or Shower
For some psoriasis patients I know, taking a shower can help aid in alleviating their symptoms of psoriasis and can give their body much of the moisture it needs. However, it is very important to capture and lock in that moisture by applying skin creams and lotions soon after that shower or bath. Once you get into this habit, you will find that your skin will feel much more comfortable.
When drying off with your soft towel, avoid quick rubbing motions that you may be used to as they may damage affected areas of skin. Take your time and relax, gently pat yourself dry thereby removing the excess water from your body. Remember, you don’t have to be completely dry to moisturize, that little bit of water needs to be there in order to keep the skin hydrated. Straight after toweling off, apply your lotion so the access water doesn’t evaporate.
It may help to add some oils into the bath like an olive oil, almond, wheat germ or sunflower oil, or vegetable oil. All these oils will help soothe the skin and fight of inflammation. Adding in some bath salts or Epsom salts will help relieve some of the symptoms as well, and help keep those dry, patchy spots at bay. Try sea salt, it may be of assistance as well in the bath – all trial and error. Some patients swear by baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), others have told me that they like to soak a bag of rolled oats in the bath before they get in, because it alleviates the itch. I do hope that you have found some of these psoriasis bathing hints and tips successful. To summarize: Keep baths and showers short and infrequent and use lukewarm and not hot water. Moisturize soon after bathing and try a few different oils to see what is successful with your skin, and what is not. What will work for one may not be suitable for the other.
When Moisturizing, Use Natural Oils
I always recommend that psoriasis patients apply a natural moisturizer regularly, especially after bathing or showering. Try to choose a natural product rather than a mineral based lotion. There are many choices out there but one of the best is Jojoba oil. This would have to be one of the best moisturizers I know, and the feedback I’ve received when I have recommended it has been fantastic. Essential oils of tea tree and lavender are great to use, and a few drops can be added to the jojoba or borage oil which then acts as a carrier oil.
Apply this moisturizer often during the day. Please ensure that your moisturizer is top quality and fragrance-free, don’t skimp and buy cheap, you will invariably be disappointed. Avoid those pricey fruity smelling lotions, or ones that offer “cures” or make ridiculous statements. Always remember to lotion up after you shower or bath to help keep that moisture locked in, and I believe that jojoba oil is the best choice here. Just leave your skin a little moist and rub the jojoba oil into the affected areas like elbows, scalp, torso, etc., including any areas affected.
It is also important to switch to all-natural products which come into contact with your skin, and this includes everything you use from hand soap to make-up which should be fragrant free and all natural. Look for products that are hypoallergenic and are free and clear of irritants. Change your laundry detergent to a free and clear type brand.
Treating Psoriasis Symptoms At Home
Home remedies are the lowest cost treatments for dealing with psoriasis, and particularly good for those on a shoestring budget. More often than not, these are the all-natural treatments that won’t harm you with harsh side effects, because we are not dealing with toxic drugs. Not all treatments work for all people and it may take trying a few different remedies to find one that works just right for you.
Soak, Then Moisturize Your Skin
Soaking in a bath can help hydrate the skin significantly, but hold off on the bath oil; if you add it at the beginning of your soak, it may actually do you more harm than good! Bath oil has a tendency to coat your skin and block out water. And if that water cannot penetrate your skin, it can’t hydrate your skin’s cells. Soak for ten to fifteen minutes first so that your skin can absorb the water, then add the oil during the last five minutes of your soak to seal in that water. In addition, be careful – the oil can make it more slippery to get out of the bath.
Moisturize Right After Bathing
The first one is an easy one, but psoriasis sufferers often forget it. Moisturize, moisturize, and then moisturize again. It’s very important to apply moisturizer right after you get out of the bath or shower, to seal in that water that’s just been absorbed by your skin. Moisturizing helps to keep your skin hydrated which keeps it supple and less likely to crack. For the best results, try a heavier cream or ointment moisturizer that really coats the skin well. I have found that lotions evaporate too quickly. It’s quick, it’s simple and it only takes a few minutes each day. Try unscented lotions and for the inside drink plenty of water each day. The more water you drink each day the better hydrated the skin will be, and the more comfortable it will feel!
Alternate With Different Creams, Soaps And Shampoos
It is surprising how many people don’t change the same things they do on a daily basis, including using the exact same product day in and day out. Because psoriasis is especially stubborn in the scalp region, I recommend that you alternate shampoos frequently for better results. Try different brands, some will prove to be amazing, some useless.
Is Your Skin Getting Too Dry?
If the skin becomes too dry, take a bath or a shower. Or soak the dry, patches of skin to help them fall of naturally and without harming the skin. Use a mild soap that won’t irritate the skin or cause excessive dryness. Try not to take too many long baths as that can remove precious oils from the skin, oils needed to protect the skin from outside elements. And remember to moisturize immediately after bathing to lock in the moisture. Every bath or shower should be done in lukewarm water, hot water will cause the skin to itch and only cause further problems.
Wet wraps are another great home remedy, and can be used right after a bath or shower or at night before bed. After your bath or shower, lotion the body as you normally would to keep in the moisture. Take some ace bandages, or whatever is handy, and soak them in some lukewarm water. Wrap the bandages around the problem areas like the elbows, knees, or thighs. The wet wraps will keep the areas from flaring up or itching and will keep the patchy areas from getting hard or infected.