Ask almost anyone with psoriasis and they’ll tell you one of the worst parts is the itch. In fact, according to a study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (CCID), a whopping 75 percent of people studied scratched until they bled. There’s got to be a better way, so we asked dermatologists the best ways to fight the itch and feel more comfortable during a flare.
Reduce the number of minutes you’re actually in the shower, not the frequency of your showers (no need to risk hygiene, here!). According to Ashley Magovern, M.D., a dermatologist practicing in Manhattan Beach, California, taking brief (about five to 10 minutes in duration) showers is key. Use warm—not hot—water, and gently cleanse the skin, without scrubbing. “Long, hot showers where people scrub their skin only releases more histamine, which means more itching,” says Magovern.
Put It on Ice
Ice packs aren’t just for bruises. A simple cool compress is an effective and all-natural itch reliever, says Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D. of SkinSafe Dermatology in Beverly Hills, California. “An ice pack on a particularly itchy patch of skin temporarily breaks the itching sensation,” she says. Shainhouse recommends wrapping the ice pack in a dish towel to limit direct contact to the skin, or only applying it for two minutes at a time, to prevent frostbite.