Psoriasis can crop up pretty much anywhere. While its itchy plaques most commonly occur on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back, about half of all people with psoriasis experience outbreaks on the one place that’s hardest to hide—the face. Not only is covering it difficult but treating it can be, too. The skin on our face, neck, and ears is thinner and more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our bodies. There are some prescription options like steroids and scale removers that can be harsh and may have side effects. So, what if we’re looking for something a little gentler to care for our skin? We spoke to dermatologists who gave us some advice for at-home remedies for psoriasis on the face.
An unexpected piece of advice comes from Nava Greenfield, M.D., a New York City dermatologist who also serves as adviser to Belli Skincare. “A shampoo like Neutrogena T/Sal or T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, that is formulated to treat psoriasis on the scalp, can be used as a face wash to gently mitigate the plaques,” Greenfield suggests. “Simply wet skin and form a lather with the shampoo, then apply to face and leave on for five minutes and rinse off.” The T/Sal shampoo contains salicylic acid, which is an exfoliant that thins the outer layer of the skin wherever it’s applied, causing it to loosen and shed. T/Gel contains coal tar, which can reduce inflammation and slow the growth of new skin cells, which is rapid during a flare-up.
Moisturizer is essential and anything that’s marked “lightweight” probably isn’t going to cut it. “Moisture-rich creams will keep your skin supple and hydrated because they seal the dermis to keep water from escaping the face,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Apply your moisturizer daily, or even twice daily, as needed, during outbreaks. She also suggests running a humidifier in your bedroom when you sleep at night to keep the air moist and prevent your skin from drying out.