December 18th 2017
Today marks World Psoriasis Day, and anyone who suffers from the painful, red and flaky skin condition will know that as winter approaches, symptoms typically flare up. Patches of psoriasis, known as plaques, can spring up everywhere from scalp to face to thighs, and the physical and mental impact can range from the mild to the practically unbearable. Given that psoriasis is a chronic disease with no cure, it requires constant management, and everything from medication to alcohol to stress can trigger an ‘outbreak’.
It’s not known exactly why some people suffer from psoriasis, but it’s thought to run in families and first develop in children and adults under the age of 35. Psoriasis occurs due to the immune system attacking healthy skin, ramping up the production of skin cells. As such, whereas skin cells normally regenerate every three to four weeks, for psoriasis sufferers that cycle is reduced to between three and seven days. As you can imagine, or know full well, that involves a lot of itching, cracking, shedding and, often, soreness. Prescription ointments, oral or injected medicines and light therapy are all forms of treatment to discuss and consider with your GP, but here’s a selection of products that could prove soothing when your skin’s on fire…
A basic emollient is a good place to start if you’re plagued by psoriasis, and this glycerin rich lotion hydrates without coating skin in what feels like a layer of lard (traditional ointments are often greasy, to say the least). Quickly absorbed, it softens scaly skin and provides a degree of relief from itching, which in turn reduces the risk of skin infection. It’s not glamorous, smells ‘clinical’ and isn’t by any means luxe in terms of terms of texture or packaging, but its power to appease aggravated skin can’t be argued with.
Buy online, from £2.99
When your skin’s flaking like filo pastry, gentle exfoliation can help to clear your complexion and stem the urge to scratch. Rather than scrubbing skin and provoking further irritation, try a topical liquid exfoliant to sweep away build up while still preserving your skin barrier. Salicylic acid is one of the kindest acids that you can opt for, as scary as that sounds, and applying to skin with a cotton pad after cleansing will make skin feel and look healthier and provide a fresh canvas for emollients or other treatments applied afterwards, allowing them to absorb better and get to work faster. Salicylic acid is also anti-inflammatory (it’s related to aspirin), which is a welcome property when you’re trying to mitigate the effects of psoriasis.
Buy online, £26
If your skin is red, hot and bothered, a spritz of this should tone things down while adding an additional layer of hydration. Mist on before serum or moisturiser, and throughout the day when skin feels tight or flaky, for a light, weightless dose of nourishing aloe and pacifying chamomile, without the side order of potentially irritating fragrance or alcohol. Lovely stuff.
Buy online, £22
Technically more of a rich cream than a balm, if you’re a fan of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream, but find it a little heavy for regular use, this new soother should bridge the gap. Rich in therapeutic arnica and moisturising vitamin E, along with seven other restorative natural extracts, it sinks in at speed and can be used everywhere from ears to elbows with minimal risk of reactions. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but dry, scaly skin certainly looks in better shape after application, plus a little goes a long way.
Buy online, £19.99
As many psoriasis sufferers will be aware, a hit of vitamin D can improve the condition of the skin no end, but living on our soggy isle, not to mention the dangers associated with UVA and UVB exposure, means that sunning yourself as a curative measure isn’t always either possible or advisable. Give your skin’s vitamin D synthesis a boost instead in the healing guise of this silky serum, designed to boost barrier function, restore much needed lipids and protect skin from external aggressors that can make psoriasis look and feel worse. Apply morning and evening to calm, strengthen and seal in precious moisture and nutrients. Not cheap (understatement alert), but has been known to add a serious edge to the skincare arsenals of those with sensitised and compromised skin.
Buy online, £110
If you’re after something straight talking that’s sympathetic to scaly scalps, this trichologist formulated range should deliver the goods. With a cult following amongst psoriasis, eczema and sensitive skin sufferers, the mild formula of this shampoo cleanses and helps to clear away flaking without the adverse effects sometimes associated with fragrance, colour and detergent loaded alternatives. Simple, effective and uncomplicated, it’s a safe bet no matter how severe your psoriasis.
Buy online, £18
A post-wash barrier treatment, this fragrance-free gel makes flaky scalps more comfortable on application, and product literature suggests that it kick starts the skin’s own repair mechanism, although exactly how it does this is unclear (one mysterious ingredient is listed as ‘MagneoLite complex optimised for Scalp Psoriasis treatment’). I include it here as it feels instantly cool on hot heads and adds moisture without the grease, although do expect a little tackiness. Some psoriasis sufferers swear by it, while others remain unconvinced, but if you’re yet to find a balm for psoriasis patches on the scalp it could be worth a shot.
Buy online, £17.09
If you’re fed up of musty smelling, basic, so called ‘hypoallergenic’ shower washes, give this rather more pampering, rich oil a whirl. Anna of The Anna Edit appeases her psoriasis with softening, natural led oil, and while it’s not entirely free of potential irritants, plant extracts and oils included should help to preserve the skin’s lipid barrier rather than detract from it as many fragranced gels and foams do. It smells like amaretto, adds a lovely sheen once you’re out of the shower and if it works for you, it’s a skin-treat for special occasions. Try to track down a tester size to try before you invest in a vat of the stuff.
Buy online, £18
Flaking around the lips is a particularly unpleasant manifestation of psoriasis, and the situation escalates when flavoured balms make things worse. This fragrance-free barrier balm helps to prevent chapping and cracking while smoothing skin on the lips. Shea butter and beeswax condition and give the balm staying power, while humectant panthenol (pro vitamin B5) draws moisture to the lips and keeps it there. For a therapeutic skin protector, it also has the very desirable added benefit of making lips look plump and sheeny too. If you’ve got a killer lipstick you’ve been wanted to break out but your lips haven’t been playing ball, prime them with this first.
Buy online, £4
Have you tried any beauty products that have made all the difference to your psoriasis? Tweet us @GetTheGloss to let us know
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December 18th 2017
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