Things You Can Do To Improve Your Psoriasis Symptoms

It can be difficult to grasp the concept of autoimmune diseases if you don't have to contend with one of them yourself. An autoimmune condition means that your body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some common autoimmune disorders include Addison's disease, Graves' disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis (via MedlinePlus).


It's an unfortunate state of affairs that people who deal with psoriasis are often very good at explaining what makes their condition an autoimmune disease. With psoriasis, the body causes raised, flaky patches of red skin that form scales. And those scales can itch to absolute distraction. Psoriasis patches are most common on arms, elbows, palms, knees, the lower back, and feet, though they can break out anywhere on the body, per Cleveland Clinic

Every condition comes with a learning curve, and people with psoriasis often must take time to learn the many steps they can take to ease the intense dryness and soothe their itchy skin. If you are dealing with psoriasis, here are six tactics you can try that may help you find relief and feel like a new person.


Soften and break down scales

There's nothing like getting to the heart of a problem. And removing the patches and scales that form on your skin will remove the source of the itchiness, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Applying salicylic acid — with the approval of your physician — will soften and break down the scales so that they can be brushed or sponged away, which ought to give you the upper hand over your symptoms.


Salicylic acid is used to treat many skin disorders and is available without a prescription (via Mayo Clinic). Using it to manage psoriasis symptoms is a far superior method to picking at the scales, which may only them worse.

Consider light therapy

People who have moderate to severe psoriasis often report good results from light therapy, which is meant to impede the growth of affected skin cells. Also called phototherapy, the Mayo Clinic says light therapy can be used by itself or in tandem with medication.


A healthcare provider is in the best position to recommend the best type of light therapy, which can range from regular but brief periods of exposure to sunlight or to artificial light sources. Like most other soothing tactics, light therapy stands the best chance of working when it's used consistently, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation

Try aloe vera

Aloe vera has been used for thousands of years to treat burns, scrapes, and other skin wounds. And this is good enough for many psoriasis sufferers to turn to the plant — or a product that includes the ingredient — for relief. It should provide a triple punch: soothing itchiness, tamping down inflammation, and moisturizing dehydrated skin cells (via Medical News Today). 


Slicing open a thick leaf, squeezing out the aloe gel, and applying it to your sore, itchy skin may help you appreciate the plant's vaunted reputation — and why the Egyptians referred to aloe as the "plant of immortality" and Alexander the Great used the plant to heal his soldiers' wounds (per Lily of the Desert).

Take an oatmeal bath

Psoriasis sufferers who love a good soak usually aren't happy campers about the restrictions they must endure for their own good. To refrain from further irritating their skin, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends limiting baths and showers to only one per day, setting the shower timer to five minutes and the bath timer to 15 minutes, and using lukewarm water.


This is why the advice to soak in oatmeal — known as colloidal oatmeal — may play like music to the ears and like a feather on the skin. The oatmeal's anti-inflammatory and antihistamine qualities will leave your skin with a silky, almost oily coating that is the antithesis of the dry, itchy, and flaky skin you may be cursing now.

Keep moisturizer with you, always

If you consider an oatmeal bath an at-home indulgence, you'd be smart to keep a moisturizer with you as an out-of-home necessity. As psoriasis sufferers often learn the hard way, flare-ups can strike out of nowhere, without warning, per WebMD


Somewhere along your psoriasis journey, a well-meaning person is certain to tell you to "fight the urge" to scratch, but you can one-up that advice by moisturizing instead of scratching, the American Academy of Dermatology Association says. It's a powerful antidote that will suppress a powerful urge.

Chill out with a cold compress

Since psoriasis doesn't usually burn, it can be easy to forget that it responds to cool influences. As the American Academy of Dermatology Association notes, nerves don't "send itch signals to the brain" quite as quickly or adeptly when they're chillin'.


Cold compresses and ice packs may keep the itch factor under control, but don't go too far and extrapolate. Using a cold, wet cloth will actually backfire because the water will eventually evaporate and, as it does, will leave your already dry skin even itchier, per Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics. And with psoriasis, that's the last thing you need.