Around 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis, the skin condition that causes flaky patches on the surface to form as scales. In the UK, the NHS estimates that two in 100 people suffer, with varying degrees of severity.
Symptoms can start at any age but in adults, it begins most often between the ages of 20 and 30, or 50 and 60. For some, psoriasis is a minor irritation with long, symptomless stretches; for others, psoriasis can have an incredibly damaging effect on their lives. Although it can’t be cured and should be treated by your doctor or dermatologist, when it comes to face and body skincare for psoriasis, there are clever choices that are not only helpful, but are a pleasure - not a chore - to use.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes an overproduction of skin cells. In turn, this causes a rash with itchy, scaly patches, most commonly on knees, elbows, torso and scalp, although it can appear anywhere on the face and body. Although the cause isn’t completely understood, it’s thought to be related to a problem with the immune system, making it attack healthy skin cells by mistake.
The condition tends to go through cycles, flaring up for a few weeks or months then subsiding for a while. “There are different forms of psoriasis and they present in different forms and in different locations,” explains Marie Reynolds, Global Skin & Wellness Expert, who has seen hundreds of clients suffering from psoriasis at in her clinics in Norfolk and London. “Plaque psoriasis or discoid psoriasis is most common. It looks as the name suggests, forming plaques of dry skin, usually discs. There are many triggers but genetics, stress, emotional trauma or even medications can contribute. Your overall lifestyle can also play a huge role.”
What ingredients and formulas can help treat psoriasis?
Just as for eczema, a soothing and nourishing approach works best with choosing skincare for psoriasis. “Look for rich textures to soften and hydrate,” advises Marie. “Rich natural butters and oat silks can help reduce any itching and inflammation. Oils that have a large molecular weight are good too. Wheatgerm, jojoba, Kukuinut and apricot oils are ideal as they are not only rich in essential fatty acids but in vitamins too. These will support the natural lipid barrier of the skin as well as softening and moisturising dry flaky areas.”
Similarly, there are ingredients best eschewed to help keep skin calm and soothed. “Avoid products high in fragrance, alcohol (astringents) acids and sulphites,” adds Marie. “Basically anything that will further dry, irritate or inflame the skin.”
These skincare and bodycare formulas are packed with gentle, nourishing ingredients and blended into skin-loving textures that will help care for psoriasis-prone skin and deliver benefits without compromising on that pampering feeling.
Shop the best products for psoriasis below
Gherane Universal Balm
The complete Gherane range has been formulated specially for stressed out skin, aiming to break the cycle of reactivity by strengthening the skin’s natural barrier and keeping more irritation to a minimum. For handy on-the-go, on-the-spot soothing, this nifty little pot of balm is a handbag and at-home must-have. It’s packed with plenty of nourishing essential fatty acids, including from anti-inflammatory boabab seed oil, softening shea and mango seed butters, plus hibiscus flower extract to provide antioxidant protection. Slick over sore or flaking patches for instant comfort and to lock in moisture. It works wonders on chapped lips too.
Buy now £24.00, Wolf & Badger
Monday Muse The Cleanser
Don’t be fooled into thinking that because the consistency of this milky gel cleanser is quite liquid, that it doesn’t have guts. A little, in fact, goes a long way and easily removes grime and make-up when massaged into dry skin and rinsed off.
Developed specifically with reactive skin in mind (founder Lune has suffered with skin conditions throughout her life), the star cleansing ingredients are gentle, sugar-based glycolipids that help keep the cell’s membrane intact and healthy, while red algae and aloe vera hydrate, and hemp seed oil feeds the skin barrier. Post-cleansing, your complexion will be clean, supple and calm.
Buy now £28.00, Harrods
Salcura Daily Intensive Hand Cream
With scrupulous washing and sanitising now adding to the daily assault on hands prone to psoriasis, Salcura’s light lotion brings instant, welcome relief.
Utilising a wealth of natural ingredients including safflower, urea and olive to seal in nourishment, it absorbs quickly and gives hands a satin, rather than sticky, feel that lasts. Added flower and herb extracts such as rosemary and chamomile are mixed in too, helping to soothe inflammation and quell itchiness.
There’s also the clever addition of lactic acid, which very gently boosts cell turnover and sloughs away dry, flaky skin for a smoother, softer result.
Buy now £13.99, FeelUnique
DermaSeries by Dove Soothing Itch Relief Cream
For this new Dove range dedicated to tackling very dry and sensitive skin, the science behind DermaSeries has led to formulas that help the skin produce its own range of ceramides, rather than relying on those added to skincare.
The unique ‘activation system’ stimulates this ceramide production within the skin’s layers, instead of sitting on the surface, meaning that your natural skin barrier becomes stronger from within.
Top for psoriasis treatment is the Itch Relief Cream, which is wonderfully rich and cooling but absorbs fast. It also contains colloidal oatmeal – a favourite with dermatologists for soothing angry skin.
Buy now £6.00, Superdrug
Marie Reynolds London Restore facial mask
Super-healing and skin-balancing, this is a mix-it-yourself face mask plus more besides. The fine, dry powder is made up of anti-inflammatory hemp and is infused with eight strains of live probiotic culture to help restore calm balance to red and irritated skin.
Whip up a paste by adding a little water to a teaspoon of powder, then smooth over face and neck for around ten minutes. Dampening it again and massaging over the skin before rinsing away gives a touch of smoothing exfoliation, while fruit extracts including acai and acerola cherry help brighten too. For flare ups on the body, Marie recommends adding a tablespoon to the bath and it’s great for healing cuts and cold sores as well.
Buy now £68.00, Marie Reynolds London
Q+A Oat Milk Cream Cleanser
This satisfyingly thick cleansing cream is a versatile treat that can be used on wet or dry skin that is prone to psoriasis. Try it on a dry face in the evening to really work into removing dirt and make-up, then use on damp skin in the morning when your face needs just a cursory refresh.
A triple blend of oat extracts ensure this is an effective yet gentle formula that’s almost 99 per cent natural, fragrance free and vegan friendly. Organic oat milk, handmade from UK-farmed oats is used for the soothing, comforting base; fatty acid- and omega-rich oat seed oil feeds and nourishes the complexion; and oat amino acids help minimise water loss to prevent dehydration. It’s a winning price too.
Buy now £7.50, Holland and Barrett
Green People Scent Free 24 Hour Cream
While caring and soothing might be the priorities for skin prone to psoriasis, this day and night cream proves that effective anti-ageing properties can also be included into formulas for exceptionally sensitive skin. Organic plant oils including evening primrose, avocado and squalane from olives ensure that skin feels comforted and nourished as well as improving its health and helping to hang on to essential moisture. The anti-ageing flavinoid baicalin works to regulate cell production and fight off damaging free radicals, while green tea boosts antioxidant protection too. With a silky, balm-like texture, skin looks even-toned, feels plump and acts more calmly.
Buy now £22.00, Green People
Argentum Apothecary La Lotion Infinie Hydrating Silver Body Lotion
A three-month clinical study into how this lotion benefits skin health found it created an impressive 94 per cent reduction in inflammation, a testimony backed up by the positive feedback from Argentum customers who suffer from psoriasis.
The key is refined colloidal silver, well known for its healing and anti-bacterial powers, teamed with a natural marine ingredient that encourages the production of collagen and elastin. Together they help tissue regenerate, which for psoriasis treatment, means regulating the over-production of flaky skin cells and easing inflammation for a smoother, more even texture.
It melts into the body, leaves skin with a velvety finish, plus the delicate signature scent of rosewood, geranium and sandalwood is dressing-table-perfume-worthy.
Buy now £94.00, Argentum Apothecary
Gallinée Prebiotic Face Oil
As a pioneer in microbiome skincare, the Gallinée range is ideal for reigning in - and keeping in good health - skin that is out of whack due to stresses including psoriasis. The face oil in particular floods the complexion with nourishing and balancing proteins and ceramides to fortify its barrier and give a plump, pillowy feel. As well as jojoba oil, oat oil helps soothe sensitivity and irritation, while the pre- and post-biotic lipids help fortify the skin. The oil is customizable for day and night use too: apply a few drops alone, add it into your moisturiser, or mix it in with foundation. Whichever way you choose, the glowing finish is addictive.
Buy now £35.00, Gallinée
Oodee Halo Purifying Foaming Cleanser
Foaming cleansers can often dry out the skin - not so with this version by Oodee, the first cosmetics brand free from all allergy-inducing ingredients. With a texture more like whipped cream, this non-drying formula is based around their own unique blend of plant-based nutrients, superfoods and actives that support good skin health and a strong barrier function. Rice protein and prickly pear extract are fantastic for deep cleansing away oil, dirt and make-up while keeping the complexion feeling supple and soothed. Avocado and apricot add a deliciously creamy scent too – all irritant-free and psoriasis-friendly.
Buy now £24.00, Victoria Health
Caring for skin with conditions like psoriasis is a delicate business, but sophisticated formulas such as this terrific ten make it feel as though you don’t have to compromise on enjoyment. Perfectly portable and an instant skin-soother, the Gherane Universal Balm takes the irritation out of itching, angry skin any time to nudge it just ahead. It doubles as a wonderfully smoothing lip slave and I’ve used it successfully on dehydrated cuticles, hayfever-reddened eyelids and even the odd flyaway hair end. In short, it’s a one-stop wonder balm that stayed solid even during the recent heatwave.