Even with a derm-approved treatment regimen, psoriasis flare-ups can still be a major source of frustration. But just because there’s no cure, doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to calm psoriasis at home.
Crafting a relaxing psoriasis self-care ritual can help you soothe symptoms and get some much-needed TLC to help keep flare-ups at bay.
Research from 2019 even suggests folks who develop a psoriasis self-care routine can develop a better relationship with their physicians. Basically, the two of you can become a powerful duo in healing your psoriasis!
Here’s how to #TreatYoSelf (and your psoriasis) with a self-care routine.
1. Make time for bathtime
Light a candle, grab a magazine (yes, they still exist), and soak in a lukewarm bath for about 15 minutes.
Cleanse with a gentle fragrance-free body wash, and when your 15 mins are up, gently pat your skin dry to help seal in moisture. Apply a thick, derm-approved moisturizer and enjoy your newly-soothed skin.
Psst: Try adding in some colloidal oatmeal for extra itch relief.
2. Try relaxation techniques
If you feel like your psoriasis acts up when you’re stressed AF, you’re not alone. Like for many conditions, stress is a super common psoriasis trigger.
For better mental health and skin health, prioritize rest and relaxation.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends stress relief activities like:
3. Sleep soundly
According to 2012 research, sleep deprivation can fire up the inflammatory process behind psoriasis. So it’s def worth swapping late Netflix nights for deep sleep.
A 2016 review also found a link between insomnia and psoriasis, so it may not be as simple as climbing into bed earlier.
To improve your sleep, try these sleep tips:
- Make your bed your sanctuary — for sleep and sex only!
- Maintain a dark, cool, and quiet atmosphere.
- Consider trying white noise or even pink noise for blissful sleep.
- Avoid big meals, caffeine, or alcohol before bed.
- Keep blue light (especially from phones) out of the bedroom.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
4. Catch some rays
Letting the sun kiss your flare-ups (even your plaques) may help reduce them. Sunshine can also help ease stress and boost your mood.
Of course, layer on sensitive skin-friendly sunscreen — sunburn will definitely make your psoriasis worse.
Aim to be a sunbathing beauty for 5 to 10 mins a day. And ask your derm for specific recommendations on how much sun time is right for your psoriasis.
5. Create a psoriasis-friendly skin care routine
Stick to a gentle skin care routine using fragrance-free soaps and moisturizers that won’t irritate your sensitive skin.
The AAD recommends these symptom relief tips:
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Especially after washing a psoriasis-affected area, lather up with a soothing, derm-approved, fragrance-free moisturizer. This will help reduce redness, itching, and bonus: help keep your skin healthy and glowing.
- Cool off and relieve itchiness. OTC products with camphor or menthol can also lend tingly, cooling relief. And when you’re lounging around, try applying a cool compress to your psoriasis for relief.
- Never pull off psoriasis scales! Use derm-approved products with salicylic acid to soften patches and then gently brush them away. If possible, consult a derm to create a well-rounded psoriasis skin care routine you’ll love.
6. Use aloe all over
Need an additional psoriasis fix beyond your moisturizer? Aloe vera isn’t a cure, but it can help ease psoriasis symptoms like redness, itching, and inflammation.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, creams with 0.5 percent aloe are ideal. And you can lather up as much as 3x a day.
7. Nosh on nourishing foods
Diet can both trigger psoriasis flares and help boost overall health to help ease symptoms.
If you’re aware of any dietary psoriasis triggers, obvi avoid ‘em. But eating more nutritious foods doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Just try to meet your veggie, fruit, and lean protein quota in a way that jibes with your tastes. Pinterest-worthy breakfast bowl, anyone?
8. Drink water
Put down the iced coffee and go chug 8 ounces of H2O. Chances are likely your body is thirsty AF and it’s affecting your skin.
So, how does drinking water help psoriasis? Dehydrated skin via lack of water is dry and sad, while hydrated skin is moisturized and happy. And moisturized skin will help alleviate dry and itchy skin from a flare.
Don’t worry, sparkling water counts!
9. Move your body
Exercise is a fab way to manage physical and mental stress and feel freaking fantastic. It may also help decrease some of psoriasis symptoms à la stress reduction.
Whether you start lifting weights, walking, or working out at home, all movement does the body good.
10. Ditch alcohol (or at least limit it)
Pass the mojito — and hold the rum, please. Try opting for mocktails instead of cocktails or enjoy a soothing herbal tea instead of a nightcap.
According to the AAD, folks with psoriasis who cut back on alcohol may experience:
- fewer outbreaks because treatment becomes more effective
- more remissions (aka periods without psoriasis)
- reduced risk of getting psoriatic arthritis and fatty liver disease
- decreased risk of liver damage from psoriasis meds
But that doesn’t mean you have to kiss your rosé romance goodbye. If you enjoy an alcoholic bevy from time to time, just keep it to a minimum and stay in tune with what might be triggering a flare.
11. Kick tabacco
Quitting smoking can reduce the incidence of psoriasis flare-ups. Bonus: It’ll also do your heart, lungs, and overall health a solid.
12. Journal daily
Unpack your Password Journal STAT!
Daily journaling is an idyllic self-care practice in general. But it also may help you reduce flare-ups by destressing through gratitude prompts and tracking your psoriasis triggers.
13. Destress with aromatherapy
Diffusing essential oils can help you bliss out — and *might* even soothe your psoriasis symptoms. Yes, we need more research to prove aromatherapy helps psoriasis, but it can def help you relax, which can indirectly help prevent flares.
Ready your diffuser and try breathing in soothing scents like lavender and peppermint.
14. Consider CBD
Real talk: There’s not enough research that CBD can really help psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. But generally, CBD tinctures, gummies, and oils have been linked to relieving stress that *might* help psoriasis flares.
Just make sure you get your docs approval first. Some products could make your psoriasis worse.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
15. Love yourself + your bod
The last thing you might feel like doing when you’re experiencing a flare is to love your skin as-is. It sounds cheesy, but some self-love may help you keep your mind off symptoms and feel more confident in your own skin.
Try some positive affirmations (“I am enough,” “I am healing,” “I love myself”) and surround yourself with people, experiences, and things you love as much as possible.
Outside of your doctor-recommended treatments, here are some other alternative treatments that may help improve symptoms:
- Acupuncture. Several studies have found acupuncture to be pretty effective at treating psoriasis, as well as soothing the underlying joint pain related to psoriatic arthritis.
- Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is known to help treat autoimmune conditions, psoriasis included. In addition to getting natural sunlight, you also may want to take a supplement — especially if you live a place a Twilight character could thrive.
- Indigo naturalis. Research shows that both topical and ingested Indigo naturalis, a plant extract often used in ancient Chinese medicine, may benefit psoriasis and nail psoriasis in particular.
- Turmeric. A 2018 review concluded that curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, helps treat psoriasis symptoms. BRB, time to serve up some curry.
- Fish oil. That same 2018 review found daily fish oil supplementation to be effective at soothing psoriasis symptoms.
Psoriasis treatment is a total health and wellness journey, from nurturing the skin to mental health.
If you need a little extra support, consider the following:
- Therapy. A therapy sesh can help reduce stress, which might translate to less flare-ups. There’s also some 2018 research that suggests that mindfulness-based cognitive hypnotherapy can improve skin disorders like psoriasis.
- Take breaks. Give yourself time to rest and relax and every day. Go on a walk, hang out with a friend, or just take a few deep breaths – you (and your skin!) deserve it.
- Listen to music. Turn up the beats to turn down your flare-ups. Music is a legit stress-reducer. Research from 2016 found that both classical music and nature sounds are especially stress-relieving and soothing.
- Cuddle up. Whether you opt to snuggle up with your pet, your boo, or some other human, physical touch scientifically helps lower stress. Huggin’ it out may just help you (and your psoriasis) feel at peace.
There’s no cure for psoriasis. But limiting stress, prioritizing health and wellness, and practicing self-care can help soothe symptoms and reduce the incidence of flare-ups.
Talk with your dermatologist about creating a psoriasis care routine that works for you.