About psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, scaly, itchy plaques on the skin, and affects around 1.3-2.2% of people in the UK.¹ Psoriasis most commonly affects elbows, knees, lower back, scalp, nails and around the belly button, but can affect any part of the body. The condition is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person. Psoriasis often runs in the family, and can also cause other conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis.²

Treatments for psoriasis

Psoriasis can be treated with moisturisers known as emollients. Emollients are medical moisturisers, which soften and soothe dry skin. Emollients create an artificial layer on the skin to trap moisture in the surface of the skin, as well as attracting moisture to the skin surface. There are many different types of emollients and you can find out more about them here.

Treatment for Psoriasis should include an emollient applied at least twice a day to the affected areas to reduce the symptoms and help to keep the skin moisturised. Other topical treatments may also be prescribed to help treat the condition and you should speak to your healthcare professional about which treatments may be right for you.

Tips for managing psoriasis

Work with your healthcare professional to find emollient products for moisturising your skin and washing. Agree a treatment routine that works for you and try to stick to it every day, even if you are not experiencing symptoms.

Moisturise your skin every day using long, smooth, soothing strokes (in the direction of hair growth). Do not rub the skin forcefully and allow the emollient to soak in over time.

Apply your emollient at least twice a day, but you can apply more frequently whenever the skin is dry – this may be as regularly as every few hours. Take a small pot of moisturiser out with you and remember to moisturise dry and itchy areas during the day.

If you are prescribed additional treatments for your Psoriasis, allow a 20-30 minute gap between applying emollients and other treatments that you apply directly to your skin.³ Always seek advice from your healthcare professional when treating or changing your treatment for your dry skin.

References

  1. Moncrieff G, van Onselen J, Young T. The role of emollients in maintaining skin integrity. Wounds UK. 2015; 11(1):70-75.
  2. NHS, Psoriasis Overview, Accessible at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriasis/ Last Accessed: 7th December 2020
  3. Moncrieff G, van Onselen J, Young T. The role of emollients in maintaining skin integrity. Wounds UK. 2015; 11(1):70-75.