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Psoriasis
symptom advice

Symptoms

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Most people with psoriasis can experience itchy skin, uniquely describing it as a burning/ biting sensation. Understandably, this problem can be difficult and frustrating to deal with - you may find it has a bigger impact on your quality of life than the visible symptoms. Itch can make it difficult to concentrate, relax, sleep, or generally enjoy what you’re doing – but there are ways to soothe the itch.

Psoriasis advice: Itch

  • Keep your skin moisturised to reduce redness and dryness, helping the skin to heal. Heavy creams and ointments can lock moisture into the skin, especially after a shower. Even cooking oils such as coconut or olive may help. Cool lotions from the fridge may feel soothing.
  • Remove any scale and flaking skin with a scale softening (keratolytic) product containing ingredients such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea or phenol to reduce itch and allow itchrelieving lotions and ointments to sink in.
  • Hot water irritates and dries the skin, so take cool showers and use cold packs to relieve itch.

Plaque psoriasis involves red, inflamed ‘plaques’ or patches of skin which can be scaly, itchy and painful; they can appear anywhere on the body, with just a few at a time or many, close together or far apart. Everyone is different, but wherever you experience plaques and however many you have, there are some useful general tips for reducing the discomfort, even if it doesn’t help to remove them entirely.

Psoriasis advice: Plaques

  • You could replace soap and shower gels with moisturising creams such as emollients. You could even apply them before and after a shower to retain and lock in moisture. It can be difficult and frustrating to get into a routine with this, especially if you lead a busy life because it takes more time. Try to wake up earlier in the morning or shower at night instead – and forgive yourself if you find yourself not managing it every day.
  • Oils such as olive or coconut could also be used to soften your scales and help them to lift.

Flakes of skin can fall off any areas where psoriasis affects you. If you have this problem, you may find this embarrassing if the flakes are visible to others, falling onto the floor, other surfaces, or your clothes. Not all people want to hide their psoriasis; you shouldn’t feel ashamed of your condition and feel you need to hide it, though that is easier said than done. There are a number of things you could do to help reduce flakes or cover them if you want to.

Psoriasis advice: Flaking

  • Flakes can build up in carpets and attract bugs, so regularly vacuuming your home or sweeping and brushing hardwood or linoleum floors would reduce build-up.
  • Keeping a portable vacuum in your car for travel will help you to keep your car clean from flakes.
  • If you have flakes building up in your bed overnight, using a hard-edged surface such as a card made of plastic to scrape them off could help, as could washing your sheets often.
  • If you have shedding on your arms or legs, wearing long trousers and long-sleeved shirts with buttoned cuffs will likely catch flakes before they fall, and white, grey or cream clothing is ideal for disguising flakes, as are scarves and necklaces. Using a lint roller or brush could help to remove any build-up, as could washing your clothes often.

Supporting you to feel comfortable in your own skin