Psoriasis is one of those frustrating skin conditions that can creep up seemingly out of nowhere, and feel impossible to treat. But it's not all bad news: There are plenty of things you can do to mitigate its uncomfortable effects, and in the latest episode of Dear Derm, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, is sharing them all—including the $10 lotion that will help to soothe inflamed skin.
"Psoriasis is the overgrowth of the top layer of skin cells, often causing red, itchy, scaly patches," explains Dr. Gohara. It's thought to be brought about by an immune reaction in the skin, and it's super common—affecting nearly eight million Americans. While there isn't any full-blown cure for psoriasis, there are plenty of ways to treat its symptoms. Depending on what types of flakes you're dealing with, dermatologists may prescribe some combination of topical anti-inflammatories, controlled UV light treatments, or oral treatments.
- Mona Gohara, MD, board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale University
Beyond that, though, there are also certain tweaks you can make to your body-care routine to help relieve the situation. "When people have thicker plaque on their skin, the use of a hydroxy acid like lactic acid or a urea-based product can really go a long way to get those scales off of your skin," says Dr. Gohara.
It's important to use gentle, chemical exfoliants (like the ones she mentions) instead of aggressively scrubbing at your skin, because any sort of over-exfoliation can lead to something called The Koebner Phenomenon. "This is when psoriasis comes out in areas of traumas, so the more you scrub, the more likely you are to get a flare-up of psoriasis in that area," explains Dr. Gohara.
To avoid this, your best bet is to "keep it simple," she says, and cleanse, use a gentle exfoliant where you need it, and moisturize every night. Her go-to product for getting the job done? Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion ($10). "It has a smidge of exfoliators in it, so it's a nice compromise between total exfoliation and just moisturizing," she says. It's made with lactic acid, which will help to gently slough away flakes, and ceramides, which will fortify your skin barrier. "I think that would be a very nice choice for somebody who has psoriasis on their skin," says Dr. Gohara.
Of course, dealing with psoriasis isn't quite as simple as slathering on lotion every day. To find out everything you need to know about getting rid of it, check out the video above.
Shop now: Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion, $10
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