How to Treat Psoriasis and Dry Skin

Psoriasis

1.

Identify your condition to ensure it is psoriasis. Sometimes doctors struggle when diagnosing the condition as psoriasis, because it can resemble other skin disorders, says the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) website (See Reference 1). They might need to take a small skin sample for a biopsy.

2.

Look for over-the-counter treatments (non-prescription) and topical applications. Your dermatologist will assess your treatment depending on the condition's severity. Ointments and creams range from the most common treatment for psoriasis, coal tar, to strong corticosteroids and synthetic vitamin A, says the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) (See Reference 3).

3.

Consider light therapy, also known as phototherapy.The ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight suppress activity in the immune system that leads to psoriasis, says the NIAMS website. Phototherapy, with UVA or UVB rays, recreates the sun's effect in a controlled, medical environment.The UVA rays are less effective, though they penetrate deeper into the skin. Therefore doctors administer the PUVA treatment, adding a light-sensitizing drug, psoralen (P), to the UVA.

4.

Take systemic and biologic treatments if the psoriasis persists. Doctors use systemic treatments, either orally or injected for severe cases. Both address the immune system's effect on psoriasis. Some systemics, like the immuno-suppressant methotrexate, are given in conjunction with UVB treatment, says NIAMS. Because biologics come from proteins produced by living cells they must be injected under the skin. Often the drug is self-administered, says NIAMS.

Dry Skin

1.

Select moisturizers that contain lactic acid or lactic acid and urea, says the Mayo Clinic (See Reference 2). The Mayo Clinic recommends oil-based moisturizers, compared with water or alcohol-based ones, for dry skin. They include coconut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and emu oil. Moisturize with such products such as aloe vera.

2.

Apply moisturizers generously and avoid harsh soaps, says the Mayo Clinic.

3.

Look internally. Include essential fats like omega-3 and omega-6, says the Mayo Clinic. Drink plenty of water to keep your system hydrated and take flaxseed oil regularly. Other oils that help dry skin are borage oil, black currant oil and primrose oil.

Tips and Warnings

  • For dry skin, avoid long hot showers and baths.
  • For psoriasis, avoid sunbeds which can cause skin damage and increase cancer risks.
  • For psoriasis, you will be very sensitive to sunlight for 24 hours after taking psoralen for the PUVA treatment.