Take control of itch

| Sarah L. Stewart

No single treatment is effective for all people battling psoriasis itch, but there are several medicines and practices that can bring some relief. Here, itch expert Dr. Gil Yosipovitch offers his tips for managing the itch of psoriasis.

Hydrate Keep skin moisturized to reduce itch. Use thick creams with ingredients such as oatmeal, ceramides and petrolatum. Avoid harsh, high-pH soaps that can dry skin and aggravate itch.

Soothe If the itch is associated with inflammation, applying a topical steroid or vitamin D analog can lend relief. A topical salicylic acid can reduce the intensity of itch, Yosipovitch said. If cold showers help, try a cooling, menthol-based cream. Lotions containing pramoxine work by numbing itch, while capsaicin cream, which contains the active "hot" ingredient in chili peppers, burns initially but has been shown to reduce itch.

Treat Biologicdrugs can have an anti-itch effect. The reduction in itch sometimes takes only a matter of days, even before the medicine has reduced plaques, Yosipovitch said. Methotrexate also has itch-reducing effects, but generally does not work as quickly, he said.

Rotate Treatments for itch lose effectiveness over time, so it consider rotating or combining treatments to maintain relief.

Learn how to manage itch »

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