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Living Well with Psoriasis

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This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the Healthgrades advertising policy.

8 Ways to Manage Your Psoriasis in Style

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Linda Wasmer Andrews on June 4, 2021
  • portrait of hispanic woman looking at hair in mirror
    Mirror, Mirror
    When you look in the mirror, are your eyes drawn to every raised, red, scaly patch of skin? Psoriasis can alter how you see yourself, magnifying the negatives and minimizing all the positives. But pampering your skin and looking your best can give your self-image a much-needed boost. Bath soaks, moisturizers, shampoos, clothing, makeup—read on for tips on managing psoriasis in style.
  • woman in bathrobe filling up bathtub
    Tip #1: Take Soothing Baths
    Soak your skin with a warm—not hot—bath. Choose a gentle, fragrance-free soap or body wash. To relieve skin dryness and itching, add bath oil, coal tar solution, oiled oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts to the water, and soak for 15 minutes. Afterward, pat dry gently with a soft towel.
  • woman-putting-moisturizer-on-hand
    Tip #2: Use Hydrating Moisturizers
    After your bath, slather on moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Moisturizers that feel thick and greasy are usually best for locking water into your skin, helping ease dryness and itching. Some people prefer to apply a lighter lotion in the morning and a thick cream or ointment at night.
  • razor-dipped-in-water
    Tip #3: Shave Gently
    Removing unwanted body or facial hair can be tricky. Shaving, waxing, and using depilatory creams can all cause some skin trauma. And that can set off the Koebner phenomenon—the process by which a psoriasis patch forms at the site of a skin injury. Trial and error might be needed to find the best method for you. Many people with psoriasis shave lightly using a manual safety razor and a shaving lotion or gel made for sensitive skin. Others prefer an electric razor.
  • Woman in Shower Washing her Hair
    Tip #4: Use Special Shampoos
    If you have scalp psoriasis, consider a medicated shampoo containing tar. After using one of these products, apply a nonmedicated conditioner to reduce any lingering smell and make your hair more manageable. Conditioner also helps moisturize your hair and scalp, relieving dryness.
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  • hair dryer comb brush mirror and towels on bathroom counter
    Tip #5: Avoid Hairdryers
    With scalp psoriasis, it’s best to let your hair air dry naturally after shampooing. Be careful with blow dryers and hot styling tools, which can increase scalp dryness. Many people with psoriasis use hairsprays and hair dyes, perms, and straighteners. However, the chemicals in these products may damage hair, which compounds any harm done by strong medications applied to the scalp. If in doubt, check with your doctor first. Also, if you have your hair professionally colored, ask about gentler, ammonia-free hair dyes.
  • nail clipper against white background
    Tip #6: Keep Nails Well-Groomed
    If you have nail psoriasis, trim fingernails and toenails as short as possible. This helps protect nails already loosened by psoriasis from snagging and tearing—the kind of trauma that may make your psoriasis worse. Plus, short nails discourage scratching. File your nails gently and avoid trimming your cuticles. Nail polish can improve the appearance of intact nails and hide any discoloration. But you should probably skip artificial nails, which may worsen psoriasis.
  • Image of woman wearing a sun hat
    Tip #7: Make a Fashion Statement
    Flattering clothes highlight your assets and express your personality while covering your psoriasis. When psoriasis isn’t readily hidden, a strategically placed accent, such as a colorful scarf or cool eyeglasses, can draw attention to another area you want to play up. Dress in easily removable layers to prevent overheating and sweating, which may make psoriasis worse. Wear soft, breathable cotton for the layer next to your skin to reduce irritation. Also, choose loose, flowing styles to prevent chafing and light colors to camouflage flakes.
  • Woman applying makeup
    Tip #8: Apply Makeup Carefully
    Cosmetics can mask some of the redness of psoriasis. But remember, less is more. Heavy-handed makeup just attracts attention. Choose liquid-based products, which are less drying than powder-based ones. First, smooth on a thin layer of sheer foundation. Then apply concealer—a thicker, less translucent product intended for cover-ups—to any red areas. If a lesion is open, wait until it heals to apply makeup there.
8 Ways to Manage Your Psoriasis in Style

About The Author

  1. C. Joyce. Shaving and Psoriasis: A Hairy Little Problem. Everyday Health. 2007.
  2. J. Bhatia. How Clothing Can Affect Psoriasis. Everyday Health. 2009.
  3. K. McCoy. Using Makeup to Cover Up Psoriasis. Everyday Health. 2009.
  4. Nail Psoriasis. University of Alabama at Birmingham. 2007.
  5. Questions and Answers About Psoriasis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 2009.
  6. Taking on Hair Color’s Bad Guy. C. Saint Louis. New York Times. 2010.
  7. Scalp Psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. 2008.
  8. Koebner Phenomenon. National Psoriasis Foundation. 2010.
  9. FAQs: Questions About Lifestyle and Living With Psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. 2010.
  10. Specific Locations: Skin Folds. National Psoriasis Foundation. 2010.
  11. Specific Locations: Hands and Feet. National Psoriasis Foundation. 2010.
  12. How to Shave if You Have Acne or Acne-Prone Skin. American Academy of Dermatology. 2010.
  13. Frequently Asked Questions About Psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. 2010.
  14. Minimizing Flare-Ups. American Academy of Dermatology. 2008.
  15. Psychological Aspects of Psoriasis. American Academy of Dermatology. 2010.
  16. Understanding Scalp Psoriasis May Head Off Hair Loss. American Academy of Dermatology. 2007.
  17. What Is Scalp Psoriasis? American Academy of Dermatology. 2008.

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Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 4
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