Moisturising your skin when you have psoriasis, well even if you don’t have psoriasis, is extremely important. So I should really say, moisturising your is skin especially when you have psoriasis is really important as it helps reduce irritation, itchiness and reduces the build up of scaling. It also helps “loosen” the plaques, as I often find when my skin dries up, the plaques over my elbow and knees restricts my movement. So in this blog post, I will talk about the different moisturisers and their application, based on my experience with psoriasis.
Types of moisturisers for psoriasis
There are so many different types of moisturisers, from creams to gels and oils. Which type of moisturiser you use can depend on so many things, such as the consistency of the moisturiser, the area to which you are applying the moisturiser or even the time of year. Depending on whether it’s the middle of summer and warmer weather or freezing cold in the middle of winter will usually determine the type of moisturiser I use. Another factor that usually plays a part as to what moisturiser I use is whether I’m at home or travelling around/staying over at someone’s house. It’s very unlikely that I’m going to be travelling with my whole drawer of creams!
So here are some of the types of moisturisers that you could choose to use for psoriasis.
You can’t go wrong with creams. They’re easy and quick to apply and rub into your skin. As psoriasis gets dry quicker in the colder months, I find creams are better moisturisers to use because of their thicker consistency. Plus it’s really difficult to keep moisturising throughout the day, so I find creams will keep my skin going through the day. Also, creams are really beneficial for severely thick plaques, again because of their consistency.
You can apply creams all over your body. However, I limit myself to using it just on my psoriasis patches, as I find because of the thicker consistency, I get through the bottle, or container, of cream so quickly! I do like using creams on my face as for me it acts as a good base for my makeup, keeping my psoriasis moisturised through my makeup. I mean, it still gets dry, but does reduce the flakiness that forms throughout the day.
Lotions are great moisturisers too, well suited for the summer months, as lotions tend to have a thinner consistency compared to creams. They usually come in squeezy bottles, sometimes with a pump, which makes them really easy and quick to use, especially in the mornings when you haven’t got the time to faff about.
In comparison to creams, I apply lotions to all parts of the body, not just limiting application to psoriasis areas only. Their consistency makes them really easy to apply and spread across the surface your skin. Lotions are also good to apply to areas near your hairline or scalp. However, I don’t think lotions are ideal for thick plaques of psoriasis as the application is too thin. It’s possibly a better form of moisturiser for those with mild psoriasis.
3. Emollients and Oils
Emollients are another form of moisturisers, and can come as ointments, gels, creams and lotions. These products have a thicker consistency and some can be quite greasy. So it’s ideal to use these moisturisers in the comfort of my own home or before bed, when you don’t mind them staining through your clothes. Also, I don’t particularly like the smell of most emollients, which is another reason why I suggest they’re best to use before bed.
So which are the best moisturisers?
Here’s a little about some of my favourite moisturisers for psoriasis
Aloe Propolis Creme
I absolutely love this product! It’s a product from the Forever Living brand, made from a rich blend of aloe vera and bee propolis, with other great ingredients such as chamomile, vitamins A and E. I like this moisturiser particularly because it’s made up of a lot of natural and healthy ingredients. The cream is really thick, but easily spreadable. It comes in a squeezy tube and majority of the time, I only use this product on my patches, as there’s only a limited amount of cream in the tube. I usually get through the tube quickly as it is!
I will usually apply this cream in the mornings, to keep my skin moist throughout the working day. When my skin was severely affected, I also used to apply it to my psoriasis patches in the evenings too. This is a cream that I apply to my face religiously, as I also apply it to my face, in the mornings, acting as a base before I apply my make-up, and also at night after a shower/before going to sleep.
Aloe Vera Gels
Another product I use to keep my psoriasis moisturised is aloe vera (the gel itself!) I go on about aloe vera all the time, but it’s seriously something that works for me so well. I personally like to apply aloe vera gel to my skin directly after I have had a shower. My skin sometimes gets quite irritated from the hot water and because the gel’s quite cool, it helps to reduce the irritation and redness quickly. You can buy aloe gel from health stores. However, I have started to use the gel fresh from the plant now. Simply, cut through the length of the leaf and apply it directly onto your skin. Your skin will get the most out of the gel if you exfoliate and then apply the gel directly after your shower, as there’s no plaque build up.
This is an all-round good moisturising product. I like this product because it feels so light on your skin and it’s extremely easy to rub in. It’s perfect when you just want to keep topping up on your moisturising throughout the day. I usually apply this product all over my body, not just restricting to psoriasis areas. The lotion comes in a bottle with a pump, which makes it so convenient for me as I am away from home in the week for work, making it easy for me to travel around with.
I find that coconut oil really helps with moisturising my scalp psoriasis. You can buy this in any food, health or cosmetic stores. All I do with this product is massage it into my scalp and along my hairline thoroughly and let it soak in for at least a couple of hours. Sometimes I even leave it overnight, and then wash it out. Again, it helps with reducing plaque build-up and ‘flaking’. I usually apply it in before I sleep and then wash it out the next morning. And typically, only apply to my scalp once a week, mostly because you need to leave it soak in and it can be quite time consuming.
How to apply your moisturiser for psoriasis
Now here are some of my tips on how to apply different moisturisers to different areas, or the routines I follow to manage my psoriasis:
Tips for applying moisturiser on the face
Here are my top tips on how I moisturise my face:
- I wash my face thoroughly, keeping my hair away from my face
- I exfoliate my face to remove scaling. I exfoliate and wash my face using African black soap. Avoiding the eye areas
- I gently scrub using a skin sponge. It’s important not to be too harsh to your skin
- Dry my face by gently dabbing a towel on my skin
- Finally, I apply the cream to my face with both hands and really massage the product into my skin with my fingertips
- I leave the product to soak in for at least a good half hour before applying any other products or makeup to my face
Tips for applying moisturiser on the scalp
As mentioned earlier in this post, I use coconut oil to moisturise my scalp. And here’s the routine I follow:
- I wear an old top or put a cloth/towel around my shoulders (as for me there’s a lot of flaking through the process)
- Brush thoroughly through my hair
- Slightly warm the coconut oil. So it’s in its liquid form
- Dip my fingertips into the coconut oil and then start to massage to all areas of the scalp. I work through the whole of my scalp by sectioning areas. Note: It’s impossible to do this without your hair getting in the way!
- Brush through hair again. And I usually tie it up, because it’s just easy maintenance that way
- Wash my hands
- Leave the oil soak in for between 2 hours to overnight
- Wash through in the shower. My hair will usually need 2 or 3 washes to get the oil out completely
I know this sounds messy and time-consuming, which it is – I won’t lie. But it’s something that really eases the discomfort. And it’s something that I’ve been doing ever since I found out I had psoriasis (over 16 years). I’ve never tried moisturising shampoos, but they could be an easier option.
Tips for applying moisturiser to the hands and the rest of the body
Here are just some general top tips for moisturising your hands with psoriasis and the rest of your body:
- When I’m applying creams, lotions, ointments or any other type of moisturiser to my skin, I like to massage and rub in the product thoroughly
- As a general rule I try to keep to creams and lotions in the morning, and emollients and oils in the evening, so I can allow time to let the products soak in before getting dressed
- It’s important to moisturise your skin at least twice a day, or as often as you can, but I know how difficult that can be to fit around your daily schedules. So it’s just ideal to moisturise in the morning when you wake up and at night before you sleep. We all have our cheat days – I know
- Areas that I can’t reach, like my upper back, I usually ask someone, my mum or sister, to give me a hand
These are just some of the types of moisturisers and products that I use and that work well for me, which I have found through years and years of researching, experimenting and improvising with different products along with different techniques. Finding the best moisturisers and the right techniques for you takes a lot of trial-and-error, but I hope some of these products and tips help you to find your favorite moisturisers too.
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-08049. Date of Prep: March 2017