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HealthInfo Canterbury

Self-care for psoriasis

psoriasis female consultUnfortunately, psoriasis can't be cured but you can do a lot to improve your symptoms.

If you're worried about your psoriasis or the impact it's having on your mood, make an appointment with your GP. They will advise you on available treatments and offer support.

Avoid using soap and body wash. Instead, use a soap substitute such as Sorbolene. You can apply this to your skin before bathing then wash it off. You can buy this without a prescription. Talk to your GP or pharmacist for advice.

You can also get pine tar or coal tar washes from a pharmacy or on prescription. These may be worth trying but they don't work well for everyone and they stain bedding and clothing.

Apply emollients. These are moisturising products used to soften your skin which can help relieve dryness and itch. Emollients are available as ointments, gels, creams, lotions and pastes. You should apply them at least two or three times a day. Watch this video on how to apply emollients.

Emollients can also be used as a soap substitute since soap and liquid soap can dry out your skin. You can buy emollients directly from your pharmacy or get them through prescription from your GP.

Avoid putting pressure on any areas of your body affected by psoriasis. For example, if you have psoriasis on your knees, avoid kneeling.

Smoking and alcohol can make psoriasis worse so stop smoking if you smoke and reduce your alcohol intake.

Stress can make psoriasis worse, so try to minimise it where possible.

Take any medications that your doctor prescribes.

Get sunshine in small doses to help clear psoriasis. Take care to avoid sunburn as this can cause flare-ups and lead to skin cancer. Avoid sun beds.

Psoriasis can have a big effect on your quality of life, causing anxiety and depression. Speak to your GP if you are concerned about the impact it's having on you.

On the next page: Treating psoriasis

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2021.

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Page reference: 38594

Review key: HIPSO-20776