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Psoriasis: Tips for managing

While medication can reduce (or clear) psoriasis, anything that irritates your skin can cause psoriasis to flare — even when you use medication. That’s why dermatologists help their patients manage psoriasis with skin care and tips for finding and avoiding triggers. 

Taking good care of your skin can alleviate some of the discomfort that psoriasis causes. Dermatologists share these tips for caring for psoriasis: 

  1. Try to avoid skin injuries, such as nicks, cuts, and bug bites.

  2. Do not get a sunburn. Even a mild sunburn can worsen existing psoriasis and cause new psoriasis to form.

  3. Treat your psoriasis. One of the most effective ways to stop the itch is to treat the psoriasis. When the psoriasis clears, the itch usually disappears.

  4. Try not to scratch. Scratching tends to worsen psoriasis. To alleviate the itch, dermatologists recommend the following:

    • Apply a cold compress.
    • Apply medication as directed by your dermatologist to your skin until the psoriasis clears.
    • Moisturize every day. For best results, use a lotion during the day. In addition, apply a cream or ointment before you go to bed.

If you have psoriasis, see a dermatologist. It is especially important to see a dermatologist if you have joint pain or your psoriasis is extensive. Psoriasis has been shown to affect other areas of health.

If you have questions or concerns about caring for your skin, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

How to find and avoid triggers

If your psoriasis seems to flare for no reason, one or more triggers could be to blame. Everyday things like stress, a bug bite, or winter weather can trigger psoriasis. 

Triggers vary from person to person. By finding your triggers and learning how to manage them, you can gain better control of your psoriasis and have fewer flares.

To find your triggers, you’ll have to do a bit of detective work. The following can help you get started. 

While skin care and trigger management help many people see clearer skin, some people also need to treat their psoriasis with medication or light treatments. You can learn about the different psoriasis treatments at: Medications and light treatments for psoriasis

Related AAD resources

Bergstrom KG and Kimball AB. 100 questions and answers about psoriasis. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2005.

Marks, B. “More than skin deep: Triggers, treatments, and you.” An educational session hosted by the National Psoriasis Foundation. Chicago: Presented June 20, 2015.

Medical reviewers Meet the board-certified dermatologists who reviewed this content. Each has conducted research that gives us a better understanding of psoriasis.