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Managing Psoriasis

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

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 disease, and it can respond to many different treatments. It depends on the location, size, and symptoms each person experiences. Some treatments are simple (tar-based therapies or topical steroids), and some are complex (new biologic medications or light therapy). Your healthcare provider will need to personalize your treatment. Psoriasis frequently will get better with treatment, but later worsen if you stop treatment or if a new illness ocurs. In most cases, you can get control of your psoriasis again. You will likely need to see your healthcare provider regularly about treatment options.

Psoriasis self-care

Follow these steps to help manage your symptoms:

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

  • 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 health care provider. There are different solutions and dosages based on your symptoms. 

  • Promptly seek treatment for any 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, except if you feel that sun exposure makes your psoriasis worse. Use sunscreen on the normal, unaffected skin, but avoid sunburns.

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

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

  • Avoid abrasive cleansers, harsh detergents, and household chemicals.

Getting good results

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: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Moskowitz, Richard, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/10/2015
© 2000-2016 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. 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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