When you have psoriasis, a basic understanding of the skin care ingredients to look for — and the ingredients to avoid — can help guide your choices when shopping for makeup, lotions, hair care, and more.
Ingredients on the back of skin care products are often confusing. There are often many of them, and with complicated names, they may be easy to skim over.
I definitely used to do this, choosing whichever one smelled the best or looked the nicest on my shelf. But that was before I was diagnosed with psoriasis.
As psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition caused by a quick overproduction of skin cells that create thick, scaly patches, aggravating your skin by using certain chemicals can be really hard to avoid. You may find that even ingredients that say they’re psoriasis- or sensitive skin-friendly can cause a flare-up for your skin.
Here are some ingredients, good and bad, to look out for if you’re managing psoriasis.
Shea butter is often associated with thick moisturizers. When treating psoriasis, a thick moisturizer is great. As psoriasis leaves skin extremely dry and bad at locking in moisture, shea butter offers a thick layer that allows you to lock in that moisture and keep your skin from drying out for longer. This is especially helpful in winter.
Alcohol doesn’t always show up listed as such in skin care ingredients. Alcohol ingredients to look out for include methanol, ethanol, or isopropyl alcohol.
These are added to products to make them last longer or feel lighter but can cause drier skin and difficulty retaining moisture.
Fragrance is often the first thing people with psoriasis learn to cut out of their skin care products. Almost anyone with sensitive skin, including psoriasis and eczema, will often notice that scented products irritate the skin.
However, you may want to experiment with this, as not all scented products may cause your psoriasis to flare. If you’re dedicated to using a fragranced product, perhaps because you like a particular smell, it’s best to make sure you’re regularly applying moisturizing creams and lotions to reduce any effects.
Remember that irritation from fragrances may not stop at just skin care for the face or body. Shampoos and conditioners that contain fragrance may also end up being irritating.
Acid may sound intimidating, but salicylic acid is one of the ingredients you won’t want to cross off your list. This ingredient is often used as a treatment for psoriasis.
It can sometimes come as an ingredient in ointments made specifically for psoriasis but also appears in general skin care products and shampoos.
It specifically helps by softening the psoriasis scales so they are easily lifted off the skin when showering or washing the face. However, excess use can increase irritation, so use per instructions or by doctors’ recommendations.
Aloe vera is another example of a very moisturizing ingredient that can help keep your skin hydrated and reduce the number of flare-ups caused by psoriasis. If you’re not a fan of the thick creams made with shea butter, you may prefer the gel consistency of products that contain aloe vera.
Ultimately, psoriasis can be flared up by a variety of causes — from stress to cold weather — and it may not necessarily be your skin care or hair care products that cause your psoriasis to flare. However, keeping an eye on the ingredients you put on your skin can still help alleviate issues and keep you feeling your best.
Medically reviewed on October 21, 2022
Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at email@example.com.