Psoriasis, Psoriasis Journey, Tips

Dealing with the Itch: Relief Strategies for Psoriasis Warrior

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes rapid skin cell turnover, leading to red, scaly patches and intense itching. Managing the itch associated with psoriasis is crucial for improving quality of life. Here are effective strategies to help relieve the itch and discomfort that come with this condition.

Understand the Itch

The itchiness associated with psoriasis, also known as pruritus, can be severe and persistent. It results from the inflammation and rapid turnover of skin cells. Understanding this mechanism can help you target the root cause of the itch with appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes.

Moisturize Regularly

Keeping your skin moisturized is one of the most effective ways to reduce itchiness. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Choose the Right Moisturizer: Use thick, fragrance-free creams or ointments. Ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin are particularly beneficial.
  • Apply Immediately After Bathing: Lock in moisture by applying moisturizer within three minutes of getting out of the bath or shower.
  • Use Throughout the Day: Reapply moisturizer as needed throughout the day, especially to areas prone to dryness and itching.

Take Lukewarm Baths

Bathing can provide relief, but it’s important to avoid hot water, which can strip your skin of natural oils and exacerbate dryness and itching.

  • Additives for Relief: Add colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts to your bathwater. These can soothe the skin and reduce itchiness.
  • Limit Bath Time: Keep your baths to 15 minutes or less to avoid drying out your skin.

Apply Topical Treatments

Topical treatments can directly target the affected areas to provide relief:

  • Corticosteroids: Over-the-counter and prescription-strength corticosteroid creams can reduce inflammation and itching. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to avoid side effects.
  • Coal Tar: Available in shampoos, creams, and ointments, coal tar can help slow skin cell turnover and reduce itching.
  • Calcipotriene: This vitamin D analog can be effective in reducing scaling and itching.
  • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: These are useful for sensitive areas like the face and skin folds and can reduce inflammation and itchiness.

Use Cold Compresses

Cold therapy can provide immediate, temporary relief from itching:

  • Cold Packs: Apply a cold pack or a cloth soaked in cold water to the itchy areas for a few minutes.
  • Avoid Ice Burns: Never apply ice directly to your skin. Always use a cloth or towel as a barrier.

Implement Behavioral Techniques

Managing the itch isn’t just about topical treatments; behavioral strategies can also play a significant role:

  • Avoid Scratching: Scratching can worsen psoriasis and lead to infections. Keep your nails short and consider wearing gloves at night to prevent scratching in your sleep.
  • Distraction Techniques: Engage in activities that take your mind off the itch, such as reading, watching a movie, or engaging in a hobby.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help reduce stress, which can in turn reduce itchiness.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Several over-the-counter options can help manage itchiness:

  • Antihistamines: While generally more effective for allergies, some people find relief from antihistamines, especially at night.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream: A mild corticosteroid available without a prescription can be used for mild itching.

Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Healthy Diet

Hydration and nutrition play a crucial role in skin health:

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated helps keep your skin moisturized from the inside out.
  • Balanced Diet: Include anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid foods that can trigger inflammation, like processed foods and sugary snacks.

Consult Your Healthcare Provider

If over-the-counter treatments and lifestyle changes are not providing sufficient relief, it may be time to consult your healthcare provider. They can recommend stronger treatments, such as:

  • Systemic Medications: Oral or injectable medications that can reduce the overall inflammation in your body.
  • Biologics: Target specific parts of the immune system to reduce inflammation and slow down the disease process.
  • Phototherapy: Controlled exposure to ultraviolet light can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, including itchiness.


Managing the itch associated with psoriasis requires a comprehensive approach that includes regular moisturizing, appropriate topical treatments, cold therapy, behavioral techniques, and proper hydration and nutrition. By implementing these strategies and consulting with your healthcare provider, you can significantly reduce itchiness and improve your quality of life. Remember, effective management of psoriasis is a continuous process, and finding the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes can make all the difference.


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