Advances in Psoriasis Treatment

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9 Ways to Manage Psoriasis Itch

  • woman scratching head
    There are many options to ease psoriasis itchiness.
    The word “psoriasis” comes from the Greek word for itch, but doctors are only recently recognizing itchiness as a major symptom of the condition. Between 70 and 90% of psoriasis patients suffer from itching, which is often different than itching with other skin disorders. Some describe it as a burning, biting sensation caused by the scaly, flaky, and inflamed skin that’s characteristic of plaque psoriasis. P soriasis itch has a big impact on quality of life and has been known to disrupt sleep, make it hard to concentrate on tasks, and interfere with sexual intimacy. That’s why it’s important to create daily habits that will help you manage psoriasis itch and bring relief to your life.

  • Facial Cream
    1. Moisturize daily.
    Keeping inflamed, flaking skin moist is one of the simplest ways to stop psoriasis itch. Morning, night, or whenever your skin feels dry, apply a thick cream or ointment to moisturize the skin. Look for products with ingredients like glycerin, lanolin, and petrolatum. These are the best for locking in moisture. Try keeping your moisturizer in the refrigerator for an added cooling effect. Always use fragrance-free soaps, detergents and lotions to reduce irritation. Keep in mind products labeled as unscented may still contain chemicals that can irritate your psoriasis.

  • Asian woman shopping in the store cosmetics.
    2. Remove scales and flaking.
    Getting rid of itchy scales and flakes will help minimize irritation and make anti-itch products work better. Scale-softening keratolytic products will reduce excess skin and keep psoriasis plaques from cracking and flaking. You can also try over-the-counter creams and lotions with ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid, phenol, or urea.

  • shower-head
    3. Keep cool.
    Hot water dries the skin, so avoid hot baths and showers and limit your time in the water to 10 minutes or less. A cool, short shower is ideal. Apply moisturizer immediately after you bathe to lock in moisture. A cold pack can also help sooth itchy patches. A great bedtime routine to reduce itchiness is to take a quick warm shower, apply a lotion or cream that’s been in the refrigerator, and finish with a cold pack on itchy spots for a few minutes.

  • Natural diy ginger sugar and salt body scrub
    4. Take salt baths.
    When you have more time, indulge in a salt bath with Epsom salt or Dead Sea salt. This can help ease itching and dryness. Add about two cups of Epsom salt or a quarter cup of Dead Sea salt to lukewarm water and soak for 15 minutes. This will also soften scales and flakes to make them easier to remove.

  • woman-with-eyes-closed-in-meditation-class
    5. Reduce stress.
    Stress can cause psoriasis flares that make itching worse. Learning to manage stress may help reduce psoriasis itch as well as other symptoms. Meditation is a great way to clear the mind and slow down anxious thoughts. It can also help improve sleep. On the flip side, exercise can help reduce itching by increasing the production of endorphins, which improve mood and reduce stress. A 30-minute workout followed by a 15-minute meditation is the perfect combination to help manage stress and psoriasis itch.

  • Woman Shopping at Pharmacy
    6. Try over-the-counter medication.
    You may be able to ease your itch by trying over-the-counter solutions. Topical psoriasis treatments like calamine, hydrocortisone, camphor, benzocaine, and menthol are good options to try. If your itching keeps you awake at night, an antihistamine will help stop your itching and make you drowsy.

  • Pharmacist assists patient with meds
    7. Ask for prescription medication.
    Talk to your doctor about prescription drugs for itching. Some antidepressants and drugs for neurological pain can help reduce itching and make it easier to sleep. Steroids and powerful topical treatments are also available in prescription strength. Work with your doctor to find the right dosage and combination of medications to bring you relief.

  • humidifier-steam
    8. Change your climate.
    This might seem like an unusual psoriasis tip, but you might consider moving to a more humid climate to decrease itchiness. Dry, warm weather naturally triggers itching, while living in a damp, cool climate can make living with psoriasis much easier. Can’t move? Try adding a humidifier to your home to keep the air and your skin extra moist.

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
    9. Adjust your diet.
    Though there’s no specific psoriasis diet, restricting foods that can cause allergic reactions could help. Avoiding alcohol, sugar, and gluten may reduce your itchiness and improve your psoriasis symptoms. You should also drink 2 to 3 liters of water a day to keep your skin hydrated. Give your diet a healthy boost by eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables. You may also want to add a fish oil supplement to your daily routine to help reduce skin inflammation and itchiness.

Stop Psoriasis Itch | Psoriasis Treatment

About The Author

Elizabeth has been writing for Healthgrades since 2014 and specializes in articles about alternative and complementary therapies like meditation, yoga, energy work and aromatherapy. She also performs improv comedy and is a firm believer that laughter really is the best medicine.
  1. Managing Itch. National Psoriasis Foundation.
  2. How to relieve itchy skin. American Academy of Dermatology.
  3. Psoriasis. Mayo Clinic.
  4. Itch in Psoriasis Management. US National Library of Medicine.

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Last Review Date: 2018 Aug 20
How Do You Best Soothe a Psoriasis Flare?
Applying oil massage
Use moisturizer
smiling woman drinking bottled water outside
Spend time in the sun
Stick with my medications
Use moisturizer
Spend time in the sun
Stick with my medications
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