Information about skin moisturizers and their use in psoriasis.

Although moisturizing is one of the cheapest, easiest, and safest treatments for psoriasis, too many people fail to take advantage of it by not using it at all or not moisturizing aggressively enough to get the maximum benefit. Proper moisturizing relieves symptoms through gently floating off the scale while keeping the skin underneath as soft and supple as possible: for its own sake, to resist Koebnerization, to reduce itch, and to leave it more receptive to other treatments.

There are two different actions to consider. Some moisturizing options actually help build moisture level in the skin, while others create a protective barrier to block the skin from losing moisture. The maximum benefit usually comes from combining the two by first building moisture with something such as an extended warm-water tub soak, then sealing that moisture in with a protective coating of something like body oil.

Moisturization is not a cure, or likely to bring clearing by itself — although reportedly it has for some people. But it’s nearly risk-free, while leaving you in full control of what you use and how much and when. And it can help reduce red, raised, heavily built-up plaque to more manageable flat, pink spots, which may reduce the need for other treatments, and in some cases make them more effective. For example, UV treatments are generally much more effective on well-moisturized skin, where translucent scales let the light penetrate for maximum benefit. Light tends to bounce off hard, thick, opaque plaque. On the other hand, moisturizers can sometimes form a protective barrier that does not allow proper penetration of topical treatments. It’s best to discuss all treatments — including moisturizers — with your doctor or dermatologist.

There are a wide variety of options available, with different effects and trade-offs to be considered when balancing benefits against aggravation to use. While the most effective moisturizers tend to be the messiest and most exasperating to use, any moisturizing is better than none. Options range from extended tub soaking (with or without adding anything to the water) to applying topical lotions or oils. Moving a bit further off the beaten track, some dietary treatment regimens also include a “moisturizing from within” aspect in recommending things like drinking an unusual amount of water. Drinking more water hasn’t been proven as a valid psoriasis-specific treatment, but it’s certainly worth trying as something likely to benefit your overall health, which may thereby help your psoriasis.

The need for caution comes with claims that a given moisturizer is specifically created for psoriasis, or when someone calls their particular moisturizer a cure. Either claim should raise warning flags ranging into active paranoia that someone is trying to fool you into parting with too much money for no valid reason. There is no proven greater benefit in treating psoriasis with rare turtledove oil purified in mountain streams and blended with the herbs of the gods, over using the much cheaper and less exotic mineral oil. Moisturizing in general is something that can benefit anyone’s skin, not just psoriatics. Sure, some people will respond better to one certain type or brand over another, but this does not necessarily make that particular product inherently better for psoriasis. Nor does it mean the same product will be the best option for someone else. It’s just the typical variable response that occurs with any psoriasis treatment. Experiment to find the mixture of options that gives you the most benefit at the least cost, both in hassle to use and actual dollars paid.

Note that these are only moisturizers that specifically mention psoriasis. A section containing all moisturizers would be gigantic, and really beyond the scope of this web site.

Reviewed Treatments and Information

Unreviewed Treatments and Information

George’s Cream

Gary Kelly’s Sorbolene Treatment


Snuva, Inc. Derm-Apply

Dry Skin Relief CenterBroken Link

PsoriexBroken Link

Credit: Screeee submitted the blurb on December 22, 1999, with help from Linda M.