Psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease causing skin cell overgrowth, affects 7.5 million people in the United States. Dermatologist Dr. Doris Day says plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the condition.
CariDee English, cycle 7 winner of America’s Next Top Model, was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 5. “Pursuing a career that is only based on an external image while having a very noticeable disease was not only difficult, but a big mental game as well,” says CariDee.
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Confidence and knowing “you have psoriasis, but psoriasis doesn’t have you,” says CariDee, will help you through any flare up. When you’re feeling as though you need a little something extra to get you through the day, try out some of these tips and tricks.
Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize.
You’ve heard it a million times, but this simple tip is very beneficial in combating psoriasis. CariDee recommends moisturizing heavily before trying to cosmetically cover. “I would use Vaseline the night before and wrap my legs and arms in Saran Wrap to keep it nice and hydrated,” says CariDee. Dr. Day says to look for products with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and Shea butter. “The richer and the heavier the moisturizer, the healthier your skin will be as a barrier,” Day explains. Not only is hyaluronic acid great for retaining moisture in the skin, it is also a highly recommended ingredient to combat aging. Kill two birds with one stone.
When picking products to cover your psoriasis, be cautionary of products containing perfumes. Instead, try to find products with very few ingredients and that are specially formulated for sensitive skin.
If, in fact, your psoriasis is at a stage where you are able to conceal (you never want to apply cosmetics to open lesions) and you wish to do so, CariDee’s best friend during a flare up is Sally Hansen Air Brush Legs. CariDee applies a layer, allows it dry with a floor fan on full-blast, then repeats until reaching a desired coverage. Other great products to use recommended by Dr. Day are Dermablend and Cover Mark. Dermablend provides full coverage for scars, vitilligo, and rosacea. It’s a 12-hour body foundation with coverage so opaque it can cover tattoos. Cover Mark, similar to Dermablend, provides maximum coverage and offers a variety of products to help conceal psoriasis, including the hydrating base with camellia, classic cover, and face magic.
Soak It Up
A warm bath (hot water can increase the itchiness) is a great way to help those thick scales fall off. Oatmeal bath soaks are great for calming dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Dead sea salt soaks have also been proven to help relieve uncomfortable symptoms of psoriasis.
Soak up the sun. Not only does laying out help relax and calm your nerves, small doses of sunlight can also be beneficial to the healing of a flare up. But you know what they say, too much of a good thing can potentially end up being very bad. Try to limit and monitor your time in the sun knowing too much of it can cause you to break out more. This also goes for the bath soaks. Too much soaking can actually dry the skin. Get in the habit of applying an emollient immediately after each bath.
Dr. Day recommends Neutrogena’s T/Gel and T/Sal shampoo, both of which help minimize scales. The T/Sal contains salicylic acid that helps break down scalp build up. The T/Gel shampoo contains coal tar, which helps slow the overproduction of skin cells while combating inflammation. Just like psoriasis on your legs or arms you want to provide the scalp with moisture and avoid itching.
“Dominate with treatments! There are so many options here for you, so pain is inevitable…suffering is an option,” says CariDee. Although these easy and simple tips may help relieve or cover your psoriasis temporarily, seeking a professional for a recommended medication can help keep your psoriasis at bay.