Psoriasis And Itching: Managing The Itch
- Itching affects most people with psoriasis and negatively impacts quality of life.
- Stick to your treatment plan to help manage itching with psoriasis.
- Avoid scratching. Use a moisturizer or cool compress instead.
- A healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce disease activity that causes itching.
Itch is one of the most distressing symptoms of plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis. Some 60 percent to 90 percent of people with psoriasis report that itching also known as pruritus worsens quality of life. Itching can negatively impact daily functioning and psychological well-being.
MyPsoriasisTeam members often discuss their frustrations with itching. Bad start to my morning. Im very itchy today. I have to be at work and can’t take any antihistamines. Fighting the itch! one member posted. So tired of my scalp being itchy, another member wrote. People look at me as if I had head lice. What can I use to stop this itch?
My face is killing me today, all red, tight, and itchy. Im now into day four of barely sleeping. I feel so itchy and its 10 times worse at night, a third member said. No amount of moisturizer is helping. It just seems to aggravate the itch.
In the past, itching in psoriasis was not always taken seriously by doctors. Researchers and health care professionals now recognize that itching is a crucial symptom to manage when treating psoriasis, due to the impact of itch on quality of life.
Wet Dressings And Warm Baths With Salts Or Oats
Baths and showers can be relaxing, but those that are too long or too hot can strip the skin of its oils, and this can make psoriasis worse.
Some people find that a warm bath containing colloidal oatmeal or Epsom salts is soothing and relieves symptoms.
According to , an oatmeal bath or a wet dressing can reduce itching, and a warm bath containing a suitable bath oil can help moisturize the skin.
In 2005, researchers found evidence that Dead Sea salts might help with dry skin. Volunteers immersed a forearm in water with a 5-percent concentration of magnesium salts, the most common minerals in the Dead Sea, for 15 minutes.
The participants skin barrier function improved, their skin hydration was better, and they had reduced roughness and inflammation compared with the control group who used tap water instead.
After bathing, applying an appropriate moisturizer while the skin is still damp can help prevent moisture loss.
What Causes Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp and other forms of psoriasis occur when the immune system doesnt work properly. Skin cells grow too quickly, growing within days rather than weeks. The body cant shed these skin cells quickly enough to match the new growth. They pile up on the skins surface, causing psoriasis.
People with family members who have scalp psoriasis are more likely to have the condition themselves. Those with HIV, stress, obesity, and those who smoke are also more likely than others to have this condition.
Common triggers that set off or worsen flare-ups of scalp psoriasis include:
- infections, including strep throat or skin infections
- skin injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, insect bites, or severe sunburn
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Plaque Psoriasis And The Geography Of The Body
The distribution of psoriasis patches on the body can appear randomly. Some patches may cover large portions of the body, while others may be no larger than a dime.
Once a person has developed psoriasis, it may appear in a number of different forms in many different places. Unlike inverse psoriasis, plaque psoriasis doesnt usually affect the genitals and armpits.
Ways To Use Essential Oils For Psoriasis
How do you use essential oils for psoriasis relief? Your essential oils for psoriasis treatment can be applied topically, added to your bath water, or used in a diffuser. There are also a number of essential oil blends that can be used for psoriasis relief.
The following is more detail on how to use essential oils for psoriasis relief.
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Foods That Contain Gluten
Research suggests that people with psoriasis tend to have higher rates of celiac disease. In people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that causes the body to attack tissues in the small intestine. People with celiac disease need to avoid gluten completely, though some people without the disease have found that reducing gluten in their diet lessens psoriasis flare-ups.
How A Dermatologist Can Help
With so many products, it can be difficult to know what to use. If you dont see the results you like with OTC treatment for psoriasis, you may want to see dermatologist. Dermatologists are the skin disease experts. They know how to tailor psoriasis treatment to the type of psoriasis you have. Sometimes, this requires combining treatments. You may also need one treatment plan to gain control over your psoriasis and another to maintain the results.
ReferencesMenter A, Korman NJ, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Section 3: Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 60:64359.
Paghdal KV, Schwartz RA. Coal tar: Back to the future. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Aug 61:294-302.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
The American Academy of Dermatology gratefully acknowledges the support from Amgen and .
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When To See A Doctor
If you suspect you have scalp psoriasis, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. They may examine your scalp to rule out other conditions before sending you to a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
If you dont already have a dermatologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
Can A Diet Cure Psoriasis Naturally
- Avoiding environmental factors that trigger psoriasis, such as smoking, and stress may help prevent or minimize flare-ups of psoriasis. Sun exposure may help in many cases of psoriasis and aggravate it in others.
- Alcohol is considered a risk factor for psoriasis, even moderate amounts of beer. People should minimize alcohol use if they have psoriasis. This is especially important if they are taking medications such as methotrexate or acitretin.
- Specific dietary restrictions or supplements other than a well-balanced and adequate diet are not important in the management of plaque psoriasis.
- Recently, some data has supported that an “anti-inflammatory” diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated and trans fats may help manage psoriasis, although the value in preventing its onset is less certain.
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Hydrocortisone Creams And Ointments
You can buy a mild corticosteroid like hydrocortisone without a prescription. For a few small patches of psoriasis, a mild hydrocortisone works well. If you have more than a few small patches, youll likely need a prescription corticosteroid to see results.
Whether OTC or prescription, this medicine works quickly to:
Reduce the itch
If you have cracked or bleeding skin, an ointment will likely feel better than a cream. Ointments tend to be more soothing and less irritating than creams.
MoisturizerThis may help anyone who has psoriasis because psoriasis makes the skin dry and scaly. Moisturizer helps to seal water in the skin, which can:
Help your skin heal
Dermatologists recommend applying moisturizer once a day, and more often when your skin is really dry. When shopping for a moisturizer, you want to select a:
Heavy cream, ointment, or oil rather than a lotion
Product that you like and will use
Oil can be especially healing, but its also messy. To reap the benefits of oil, try applying it before bedtime.
Moisturize before washing
For best results, you want to apply your moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing and after washing your hands.
Scale softenersYoull find OTC products and prescription medicines that contain salicylic acid. This active ingredient helps to:
Remove and soften scale
Removing the scale helps other medicine that you apply to your skin to work better.
What Does Inverse Psoriasis Look Like
Inverse psoriasis is known for its red, shiny, smooth rash. Unlike the scales, pustular spots, and crusting skin associated with other forms of psoriasis, the rash caused by inverse psoriasis is neither raised nor dry.
Inflamed patches of skin are sometimes moist to the touch. You may feel irritation, itching, or both in areas that are affected by inverse psoriasis.
Youre also at risk to develop a yeast infection in the skin folds due to the moist environment. The red lesions generally cover very large areas within your skin folds.
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What Is Scalp Psoriasis And What Causes It
Psoriasis can appear on any part of the skin, even the scalp. With scalp psoriasis, scalp plaques produce excess scales and can cause your scalp to itch.
Symptoms of scalp psoriasis appear as the following:
- A small bump, called a papule, with a scale on top.
- The plaque typically is covered by thick layers of horny scale. When the scale sheds, it can look like dandruff.
- Sometimes these plaques can itch.
- Scratching these plaques can worsen the condition and lead to what’s called the Koebner phenomenon, or isomorphic response, which can cause psoriasis to develop in areas where there’s inflammation and trauma.
The causes of scalp psoriasis, like all psoriasis, is related to genetic defects that affect the immune system. It is not known if stress causes or makes psoriasis worse.
In some severe cases, scalp psoriasis can cause alopecia, or a loss of hair, which is rare and may be controlled with treatment. Scalp psoriasis can be treated with topical medications, which can sometimes be difficult to apply when the scalp is covered with enough hair that can create a barrier.
Diagnosing Plaque Psoriasis By Looking At The Skin
Most doctors and nurses can tell if a scaly or rough patch of skin is psoriasis. Sometimes a biopsy or a visit with a dermatologist is needed. During your visit, make sure to point out all of your abnormal patches of skin.
Tell your doctor about your symptoms and what seems to aggravate your skin. Possible triggers of psoriasis include:
- skin trauma
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Skin: Condition: Infomation Internal Treatments
- Tablet options include acitretin , ciclosporin , methotrexate , and in some hospitals fumaric acid esters and apremilast.
- Injectable treatments for psoriasis include etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, ustekinumab, secukinumab, ixekizumab and guselkumab. Other new tablet and injected treatments are being developed in clinical studies at present.
- Blood tests may be recommended by your GP or dermatologist. If you are considering tablet or injection treatment for your psoriasis, then blood tests will be needed before and during treatment.
Further details of these treatments can be found in the Treatments for moderate and severe psoriasis and individual drug patient information leaflets.
Can Psoriasis Cause Rashes Around The Anus
Inverse psoriasis generally causes lesions of smooth, shiny skin in the areas where the skin folds. It can cause red or purple itchy patches on the anus and the crease between the buttocks.
Skin plaques in these two areas can cause rectal bleeding and difficulty with passing stools. Fortunately, clear skin with inverse psoriasis is possible with appropriate treatment.
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Are Biologics Right For Me
Whether you use prescribed biologics is your choice. This treatment option may or may not be right for you. Perceptions, use, and success of treatment depend on a lot of things. And every person and their situation is unique.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about biologics for psoriasis. The insight they share can help you decide your next step. If you need to change course during treatment, your doctor can guide you in that as well.
Psoriasis Creams And Shampoos
Topical treatments are creams or ointments that you apply directly to the skin. If you have mild psoriasis, a topical treatment may be all you need. For moderate to severe psoriasis, topical treatments can be used in combination with other medications .
There are some remedies you can try at home for mild psoriasis or in combination with prescription medicines. Below are some examples:
Moisturizers relieve dry, itchy, red skin and can be helpful for everyone with psoriasis.
is a low-dose, over-the-counter steroid that decreases itching and inflammation. Its great for very mild psoriasis affecting a small area.
Products with salicylic acid can soften and remove the scale seen in plaque psoriasis.
Coal tar-containing products relieve symptoms and slow the rapid growth of skin cells.
Products with calamine, camphor, or menthol can help itching.
Topical psoriasis treatments that require a prescription include:
Corticosteroids: These medications reduce inflammation, redness, and itching. There are many topical steroids, but two common ones are and .
Vitamin D analogues : These decrease skin growth, which helps control psoriasis. They may be used in combination with steroids. Examples are and .
Calcineurin inhibitors : These medications are used for sensitive areas like the face. They include and . Both of these medications are considered off label for psoriasis treatment.
Keratolytics: These decrease skin growth and break down thick plaques. Examples are and .
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Plaque Psoriasis And Its Reach: The Scalp And Beyond
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least 50 percent of people with plaque psoriasis will experience a bout of scalp psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis on the scalp may require different treatment than plaque psoriasis on other parts of the body.
Medicated ointments, shampoos, and careful removal of scales can help treat scalp psoriasis. Sometimes, systemic medications must be used to clear plaque psoriasis on the scalp.
Are Psoriasis Shampoos Available
Coal tar shampoos are very useful in controlling psoriasis of the scalp. Using the shampoo daily can be very beneficial adjunctive therapy. There are a variety of over-the-counter shampoos available without a prescription. There is no evidence that one shampoo is superior to another. Generally, the selection of a tar shampoo is simply a matter of personal preference.
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Tips For Applying Makeup
Lockhart suggests consulting a professional makeup artist, who can help teach you various techniques for camouflaging psoriasis lesions. These tips should help you get a head start.
First, reduce scaling. Camouflaging makeup works best on psoriasis lesions that have less scaling. So descaling techniques, such as occlusion and hydration, may be a good place to start before applying makeup. Occlusion involves using an emollient cream, which is a moisturizer that can help hydrate and prevent dry skin, ease itch, soften plaques, and reduce scaling. After applying the cream, cover the lesions with plastic wrap overnight and shower in the morning to wash away the scales. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends talking with your doctor before using a steroid or other prescription medication as part of occlusion therapy.
Alternatively, you can hydrate lesions by sitting in a tub filled with warm water and bath oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Then gently exfoliate the scales with a towel. Resist the temptation to pick off any cells. Psoriasis can get worse when scratched or picked at due to the Koebner phenomenon, a reaction that causes new psoriasis lesions to form at the site of skin injuries. Follow up immediately with a gentle moisturizer.
Skip the sparkle. Opt for matte finish cosmetics, and avoid anything that contains glitter or adds sparkle. These products can attract even more attention to the areas youre trying to hide, plus they can irritate your skin.
Causes And Risk Factors
Researchers dont know exactly what causes psoriasis or what causes it to spread to the anal or genital areas. They do know that genes and the immune system play a significant part in the development of psoriasis. Many family-based studies have found that about one-third of people with psoriasis have a first-degree relative with the condition.
In addition to genes, certain environmental factors can increase your risk of psoriasis. These include:
How Do You Pick The Best Treatment Option
Once you are diagnosed with psoriasis, your healthcare provider will help you decide the best treatment for you. Your primary care provider can usually treat mild psoriasis. In some cases, you might need to see a specialist called a dermatologist.
Psoriasis is different for everyone, but treatment generally proceeds as follows:
If you have mild psoriasis involving a small area of your body, you can try a topical treatment or targeted phototherapy first. If that doesnt work, systemic treatment with an oral medication or biologic is the next step.
If you have moderate or severe psoriasis involving a larger area of the body or a sensitive area like the palms or soles a systemic treatment with or without phototherapy is recommended as first-line treatment.
Systemic treatment is also needed if you have both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Finding the right treatment isnt always easy. Its not easy to predict how someone will respond to treatment, and sometimes you have to try a few medications before you find one that works for you. You may even need more than one medication, too. This process can be frustrating, but your healthcare provider can guide you through the process.
If you have already been diagnosed with psoriasis and need prescription refills, it may help to know that there are several services that can provide a consultation and prescription online.
Best Essential Oils For Psoriasis
Some of the following essential oils used for psoriasis help detoxify, and others moisturize the skin. In addition, essential oils help reduce stressa common trigger of psoriasis flare-ups.
The antibacterial properties of essential oils support liver and immune function, and other root causes of psoriasis include poor liver function and illness, infection, and an overgrowth or fungi and other microbes.
What essential oils are good for psoriasis? In this section, we will detail the 15 best essential oils for psoriasis.
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