Some of you might not know this about me, but I’ve struggled with psoriasis for pretty much my whole life. It was a big part of my body and self-image issues as a teenager, and can still be really frustrating. But I’ve learned a lot from leading dermatologists and other doctors’ advice, plus from just living with this for years and figuring out what works.
First up, a big disclaimer. I’m not a doctor or dermatologist, nor do I have any medical training (except I think I did a first aid workshop a while back). I have “just” lived with psoriasis for my whole life and have learned some tricks to keep it under control. I haven’t used any prescription products in years, not because my skin is always clear, but just because travel and new doctors means it’s not always easy. Here are some easy ways to manage your psoriasis or other dry skin conditions if you can’t or won’t use something available only with a doctor’s scrawl.
(Another disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and buy stuff, I might get some cash. But that doesn’t change what I’m recommending, or the content of this article)
Prescription-free skin care for Psoriasis: Find products that work for you
Every sensitive skin is different. In general, I go with a combination of Dove, Neutrogena and some Body Shop products, but for years I couldn’t touch anything from the Body Shop either. RIght now, on my body, I alternate between the Almond Milk and Honey Body Butter
from the Body Shop, and just plain old petroleum jelly
, either the brand name Vaseline stuff I get for cheap or even the no-name dollar store stuff if necessary. On my face, I use Neutrogena day
Avoid creams or lotions with perfumes as these can irritate skin and are often a sign of harsher chemicals contained within. Try to avoid rough scrubs – while it might feel nice to exfoliate, it can just upset your skin even more, especially if you’re experiencing a flare up.
Apply moisturizer thoroughly after every shower or bath
Once you’ve found a body lotion that you like, prepare to buy it in bulk for these next instructions. Apply moisturizer thoroughly after every shower or bath. Lotions should be applied while your skin is still damp/wet. This helps to prevent your skin from drying out, as well as ensures maximum absorption when your skin is open to it.
Cling wrap helps to keep the lotion in
In the event of a flare-up, slather a generous amount of lotion on your skin and cover with cling wrap before bed. You might feel like leftovers and overheat sometime in the middle of the night, but the cling wrap helps to keep the lotion in and you will wake up with the best absorption possible.
Scalp flare-ups are particularly difficult to treat.
Be sure to buy a cold tar shampoo
to help remove flakes. In the evening before bed (or whenever you’re comfortable going with greasy hair for a bunch of hours), you can rub your favorite oils into your scalp. It is really gross and greasy, and if you do it before bed you might want to sleep with some sort of head covering, but it can help to moisturize and soften your scalp, loosening scales and letting the shampoo get to the affected areas.
Light treatment can be a miracle cure
I went for a bunch of UVB treatment and it was fantastic. However, you will need to go regularly (2-4 times per week) for a few months to see best results. Remember, psoriasis is still a chronic condition and even if light treatment takes it all away, if you stop treatment, it can all return again.
Getting into the sun can also help psoriasis
Related to light treatment, getting into the sun can also help psoriasis. However, you will still want to use sun protection in general, but the UVB can be excellent for clearing up flare-ups and preventing future issues. Have fun trying to change your hair parting throughout the day to get as much sun on the whole of your scalp as possible.
Drink plenty of water
Drink plenty of water. It sounds silly, but remember that keeping your skin hydrated also works from within; the better hydrated you are in general, the better your chances of keeping your skin from drying out.
Be aware of these potential pitfalls
Finally, be sure to find out your specific triggers. Alcohol, smoking, and stress are all known triggers for psoriasis, so just be aware if your skin flares up particularly after a big night out or a rough week at work. While it’s not always possible to avoid these triggers altogether, at least be aware of these potential pitfalls means that you can better prepare for them.
I quit smoking just because of my psoriasis, and I do notice that things get worse after I’ve had a bit to drink. But mainly, stress, breastfeeding
, and other triggers were the hardest for me. Prescription-free skin care for psoriasis isn’t always easy, but it is doable.
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