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What are the recommendations for basic skin care in patients with psoriasis?
  • Regular use of emollients and gentle cleansers improves the management of psoriasis. Emollients (also referred to as moisturisers) and cleansers are part of the basic skin care which should be integrated in the treatment plan in combination with prescription creams/ ointments or systemic anti-inflammatory agents.
  • People with very mild psoriasis may be able to control their symptoms with emollients only. Regardless of the severity, all people with psoriasis should use emollients. In mild cases and during pregnancy and breastfeeding emollients are suggested as the first line of therapy.
  • Regular use of emollients helps to control symptoms of psoriasis: People with psoriasis who use emollients have beneficial effects in terms of reducing scaling, relieving itching and even reducing the number of psoriasis flare-ups.
  • Using emollients help other topical treatments work better: Combining treatments such as prescribed creams and ointments (for instance steroids or Vitamin D analogues) with emollients appear to support their effect, possibly by helping other topical treatment get through the skin more effectively. It is usually advised that emollients are applied about 15 to 30 minutes before other psoriasis topical treatments.

So, to summarise...

Basic skin care with emollients and gentle cleansers is proven to help control symptoms in psoriasis. Emollients work by moisturising dry skin, reducing scaling and relieving itching. They soften cracked areas and help other topical treatment work more effectively.


The advice in this post are based on the findings from an evaluation of studies on the role of emollients in psoriasis published between 2000 and 2012. The review was performed by a working group of five European dermatologists with clinical and research experience in psoriasis.

Title of publication:  Recommendations for adjunctive basic skin care in patients with psoriasis

Date and journal: European Journal of Dermatology, vol. 24, n◦ 2, March-April 2014

Link to article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1684/ejd.2014.2294

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