Recently diagnosed with psoriasis?
I’m going right back to basics with this series of blog posts that’s all about getting to grips with the fundamentals of managing a disease like psoriasis. First up, we’re talking about getting the skincare and lifestyle essentials together so you’re prepared for flare-ups.
As always, speak to your GP or healthcare provider before trying any new medications, treatments or products to ensure they are correct for your skin. I am not a doctor (just someone with psoriasis!) see disclaimer.
I’ve come to realise that having psoriasis or a condition that affects your skin means that you no longer travel light (where I go, many MANY moisturisers must follow!). Below are a list of items and resources that might help you manage your skin effectively and efficiently on a daily basis.
A moisturiser you don’t hate
Doctors tend to prescribe thick emollients like Diprobase for moisturising your skin and I can’t stand how sticky and uncomfortable these creams make me feel. Clothes sticking to your skin is less than ideal , plus most of us don’t have the time to apply moisturisers multiple times a day and then wait ages for them to sink into your skin.
I prefer fast-absorbing moisturisers with a nice, non-medicinal smell (my favourites include Aloe Vera Gel, Mussa Skin Calming Gel and Body Butter, Lush Dream Cream, Aveeno, MooGoo Irritable Skin Balm and Egyptian Magic Cream). Having products you really enjoy using will encourage you to stick with your moisturising routine which is so vital for exceptionally dry skin.
Lotions and potions for bathing
Scalp psoriasis-sufferers, listen up! You’re probably going to need a medicated shampoo to keep those locks as flake-free as possible. I use Capasal therapeutic shampoo and Psoriderm scalp lotion shampoo. T-gel therapeutic shampoo which is available fairly cheaply in Superdrug or Boots (drug stores!) will do the job if I run out of the other two.
I have also found a use for the enormous bottles of Diprobase and other emollients I have been given by the doctors: as a body cream for the shower! Body washes and shower gels dry my skin out so I use an emollient for this instead. Just be very careful of how slippy they can make the shower..
For baths, I use WestLab Pure Mineral Bathing Dead Sea Salt and a few drops of jojoba and almond oil. The jury is still out in terms of how useful the bath salts actually are but I’ve always come out of the bath feeling super moisturised after this.
The first thing you’ll be prescribed by a doctor is probably going to be some sort of steroid cream. The issue with topical treatments is that I ended up with so many for different areas of my body, used either on different days or multiple times a day, that I got seriously confused with my treatment schedule. Stream-line your topical treatments to make your skincare as simple and effective as possible.
Your GP or dermatologist will be able to give you the best advice on what products can be used where. Keeping a list or diary to remind you of your schedule is handy not only to remind yourself but also so you and your doctor have a note of what treatments you use on a regular basis and how this can be improved or changed.
A supportive group of people (outside of family and friends!)
What do your doctor, hairdresser and personal trainer all have in common? Answer: they need to be aware and understanding of your skin.
Every one of these people needs to be sympathetic, respectful and flexible in their attitude towards their profession and your psoriasis. You’ll likely spend a lot of time visiting the GP and you need a supportive doctor that is going to help you on your journey. Don’t be afraid to request appointments with certain doctors you trust and feel comfortable with.
People like your personal trainer need to be aware if you suffer from sore joints or if sections of skin are painful – as well as knowing that sweat can make us very itchy! Your hairdresser, beautician, nail tech and other people who come close to your skin should be respectful and kind about any insecurities you may have or any specific products you need to use or avoid.
If any of these people are rude or make you feel uncomfortable about your psoriasis – find a new one! You need an arsenal of support from everyone around you, not just family and friends.
I personally prefer to wear as little clothing as possible when my skin is at its worst! But when I do have to venture out, I keep clothes as soft and squishy as possible. Some jumpers are really gentle on skin but some can catch and pull so be careful what sort of material you opt for. Cotton t-shirts and jeans is an easy go to for me! Gym gear like stretchy leggings can also be a good casual option for just kicking around the house as the material doesn’t rub psoriasis.
You don’t want to spend your day feeling your jumper rip skin off your elbows – trust me!
Another great tip is to invest in some perfume-free washing powders and fabric conditioners so the clothes you wear and materials like bedding don’t irritate your skin. Wearing rubber gloves is a simple solution to stopping harsh chemicals such as washing up liquids drying out the skin on your hands.
My Basic Toolkit:
- Steroid creams and topical treatments
- Medicated shampoo (for scalp psoriasis)
- Bathing products
- Perfume-free, sensitive washing liquids, powders and fabric conditioners
- Rubber gloves
- Comfortable clothing
- Treatment diary
- A supportive GP and other professionals