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Managing Psoriasis

The success of your medical treatment depends on you. When your healthcare provider gives you a treatment plan, ask when you should expect to see results. Then, follow your plan. If your treatment does not work in the expected time, let your healthcare provider know.

Psoriasis is a common chronic skin disorder, that may respond to many different treatments depending on the location, size, and symptoms each person experiences. Some treatments are simple (tar-based therapies or topical steroids). Other treatments are complex (new biologic medicines or light therapy). Your healthcare provider will need to personalize your treatment. Psoriasis can't be cured. But it will often get better with treatment. Symptoms may become worse later if you stop treatment or if a new illness occurs. In most cases, you can get control of your psoriasis again. You will likely need to see your healthcare provider regularly about treatment choices.

Psoriasis self-care

Woman relaxing in bathtub.
Take baths in warm water to help soften scales.

Follow these steps to help manage your symptoms:

  • Take baths to help soften scales. Use warm water, not hot water. To prevent drying out your skin, limit each bath to about 15 minutes. Add bath oil, bath salts, or colloidal oatmeal.

  • After you bathe, apply lotion right away, while your skin is damp. Dry skin can make symptoms worse.

  • Use a scalp treatment as prescribed by your healthcare provider. There are different solutions and dosages based on your symptoms. 

  • Seek treatment right away for any illnesses or skin injuries because they can cause flare-ups.

  • Manage your stress, and use relaxation techniques.

  • Expose your psoriatic skin to sunlight for 5 minutes a day. But don’t do this if you feel that sun exposure makes your psoriasis worse. Use sunscreen on the normal, unaffected skin, and try to prevent sunburns.

  • Use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for itching to reduce scaling for active outbreaks. Ask your healthcare provider about long-term use.

  • Stick with treatment that your healthcare provider has recommended for you, especially if it's controlling your psoriasis.

  • Stay away from abrasive cleansers, harsh detergents, and household chemicals.

Next step

Now that you know more about psoriasis, the next step is up to you. Follow your healthcare provider's treatment plan and self-care routine. Doing so can help you control your symptoms. If your symptoms don’t improve or they get worse, call your healthcare provider. Psoriasis can’t be cured. But its symptoms can be managed.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Lehrer MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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