When you have psoriasis, it's essential to find shampoos, lotions, and cleansers that will manage your symptoms and soothe your skin. Here, top dermatologists reveal the products they frequently recommend to their psoriasis patients.
People with psoriasis know that it's more than "just a skin condition." The chronic autoimmune disease causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, leaving red, inflamed, scaly patches. The patches can be itchy and sore, and sometimes they even crack and bleed.
There's no cure for psoriasis, which affects up to 7.5 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. But it is treatable. In addition to prescription drugs (both oral and topical), light therapy, and vitamin D supplementation, choosing the right over-the-counter skin care products can make a huge difference in a psoriasis sufferer's quality of life.
When shopping for cleansers, shampoos, and lotions, look for products made specifically for sensitive and dry skin, says Stacy Chimento, MD, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist. “People with psoriasis can develop worsening of psoriasis or more inflammation if the skin gets too irritated,” she says.
The type of product you buy isn’t the only thing to be aware of. The way you apply the products to your skin, and how often you do so, can also affect your symptoms. “No matter what cleanser you are using, do not bathe more than once daily, do not use loofahs, sponges, or cloths, and do not scrub your skin,” says Kally Papantoniou, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Fresh Meadows, NY.
With ultra-hydrating ingredients and no irritating dyes, perfumes, or chemicals, these 12 skin care products are ideal for people with psoriasis.
Cetaphil Restoraderm Calming Body Wash
Dr. Papantoniou recommends Cetaphil Restoraderm Calming Body Wash as a body cleanser for people with psoriasis. “We really want to focus on products that are going to help protect the skin barrier, hydrate, and potentially reduce flare-ups and allow the skin to heal and respond to therapies,” she says. “You want to look for products that are made for sensitive skin and dry skin, and make sure they contain ceramides in the moisturizers.”
Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash
Dr. Papantoniou also recommends Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash because it is not harsh on the skin but will still give you a clean, refreshed feeling. “These cleansers are not harsh, and will not strip the skin of the natural oils that it actually needs,” she explains. “Oil based cleansers are a great choice for the body, leaving the skin very soft and hydrated.”
Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser
For washing the face, Dr. Papantoniou says she recommends Cerave because the brand is monitored for consistency and function, and contains ingredients that are developed for sensitive skin and very dry skin.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Dr. Papantoniou also recommends Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser to psoriasis patients for the same reasons as Cerave: Production is monitored closely for quality and consistency, and the cleanser is made from ingredients ideal for sensitive and dry skin.
Cerave Moisturizing Cream
Cerave Moisturizing Cream is a great basic moisturizing lotion for the body and face. “To moisturize the body, it’s important to pick richer creams that have ceramides because they help repair and protect your skin barrier,” Dr. Papantoniou says. “The balance of oils and ceramides in these moisturizers have been proven to help heal and repair.”
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
“Vanicream in particular is an excellent cream for those who have numerous allergies to product ingredients and have sensitive skin,” Dr. Papantoniou says. Vanicream is free of dyes, perfumes, parabens, lanolin, and formaldehyde.
Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo
Dr. Chimento recommends Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo for people with psoriasis visible on their scalp. “For scalp psoriasis, shampoos that contain salicylate acid and/or tar work wonders,” she says. “Used regularly, they help to gently exfoliate the skin and break up the scaliness and flakiness.”
“Nizoral is a great alternative to the Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo,” Dr. Chimento says. “Many patients with psoriasis also suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, and this shampoo will help with the inflammation.”
Scalpicin Maximum Strength Anti-itch Liquid
Dr. Chimento also recommends Scalpicin Maximum Anti-Itch Liquid. “It’s great for scalp relief,” she says. This product can especially help those who suffer from itching on the scalp from their psoriasis.
TriDerma Psoriasis Control Lotion
“TriDerma Psoriasis Control Lotion is great, as it contains a mild percentage of salicylic acid,” Dr. Chimento says. “This helps to remove scales on the skin associated with psoriasis.”
Cerave AM sunscreen lotion
Dr. Papantoniou recommends Cerave AM lotion for daytime use. Cerave AM provides SPF 30 sun protection, as well as ultra-hydrating ingredients that never leave the skin feeling greasy.
Oil of Olay Pro-X
Dr. Chimento recommends the Olay Pro-X line of skincare products because they contain retinol and tretinoic acid, which is helpful for patients with psoriasis. “While these products are great for improving sun damage and anti-aging, they also help the skin cells turn over, improving the thick scaly plaques that are often associated with psoriasis.” For a lightweight facial sunscreen, try Olay Professional ProX Anti-Aging Age Repair Facial Moisturizer Lotion With Sunscreen SPF 30.