Psoriasis is a skin problem that causes inflammation that can affect other parts of the body and make your face more reactive to skin care products. For this reason, what you use in your skin care routine when you have psoriasis is important.
Psoriasis is caused by an immune response in the body, which results in activation of different inflammatory pathways. Even if you are using one of the new biologic drugs that targets the immune system you may have sensitive skin.
To know learn which skin care products to use in a psoriasis routine for your face, take our quiz and see if you have any underlying skin issues that your skin care products need to target in addition to psoriasis.
The best approach is a personalized psoriasis routine customized for you.
Whether you are experiencing a flare of your psoriasis or it has subsided, maintaining an effective skincare routine can help keep your skin looking and feeling as healthy as possible.
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Why a custom psoriasis routine for the face is important
When dealing with psoriasis, the right skin care routine for your face can help. Why do face products matter if you do not have psoriasis on your face?
In psoriasis, the immune system plays a central role by promoting inflammation and rapid skin cell turnover. The immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy skin cells as if they were pathogens. This involves a complex interplay of immune cells, including T cells, and cytokines, particularly Interleukins (ILs).
Among the ILs involved, IL-17, IL-23, and IL-12 are key players. Biologic drugs for psoriasis commonly target these interleukins to help reduce inflammation.
For example, anti-IL-17 agents (such as secukinumab and ixekizumab) and anti-IL-23 agents (such as guselkumab and risankizumab) have proven effective in treating psoriasis.
Elevated levels of these ILs, especially IL-17 and IL-23, contribute to inflammation in the skin, leading to the characteristic red, scaly plaques seen in psoriasis. While psoriasis often appears on the elbows, knees, or scalp, these upregulated ILs can cause inflammation elsewhere, including facial skin, even if psoriasis plaques are not present on the face. This can cause your face to have redness, acne or sensitivity due to the increase of these inflammatory factors. Using topical skin care products on the face that have anti-inflammatory effects can be helpful if you have psoriasis and sensitive skin.
It is important to note that topical corticosteroids, while effective for reducing inflammation, are generally not recommended for use on the face due to potential side effects, including skin thinning, hypopigmentation, and the risk of inducing rosacea or steroid acne. Calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, are alternatives that can be used safely on the face, but they are typically recommended for use along the scalp line in the presence of psoriasis plaques, as they are less likely to cause these side effects.
Psoriatic Skin Needs Soothing and Calming Skincare Ingredients
Whether you are on prescription psoriasis medications or not, your psoriatic skin needs skincare products with anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Psoriasis can make you more likely to have acne and rosacea
Psoriasis suffers may be more likely to have other issues as well. This is known as a comorbidity. For example, one study found psoriasis suffers to have a higher incidence of rosacea. (3,4) Other studies have shown that the incidence of acne may be higher when you have psoriasis. (5) All of these can cause stress and we know stress can increase the severity of acne, rosacea and psoriasis.
What is the Best psoriasis routine?
It is paramount to follow your doctor’s recommendations for psoriasis creams or ointments to treat your condition. If they do not give you a medicated psoriasis cleanser or psoriasis moisturizer, here are our suggestions for psoriasis moisturizers and creams.
What Face Wash Is Best For Psoriasis?
Never use a mechanical exfoliator like a scrub on psoriasis plaques. Facial scrubs can injure the skin and cause the Koebner phenomenon which makes psoriasis worse. Do not use face brushes for psoriasis for the same reason.
Only use facial cleansers with soothing ingredients when you have psoriasis.
Here are some soothing facial cleansers:
Prescription creams in your routine
Barrier repair moisturizers with soothing ingredients hydrate and calm psoriatic skin. here are some of the best face moisturizers for psoriasis :
If you prefer a natural organic oil to treat psoriasis, argan oil is our favorite anti-inflammatory ingredient to soothe inflamed patches of psoriasis and keep the skin hydrated. You can use argan oil alone or under a moisturizer.
One of our favorite soothing oils for psoriasis on the face is PAORR Argan Oil.
What Cream or Oil Is Best on My Body?
As most people with psoriasis will experience it on their elbows, knees and torso, selecting an appropriate psoriasis cream for the body is essential. You should choose a fragrance-free psoriasis cream to reduce the likelihood of further inflammation, as well as a skin barrier cream that will not rub off onto clothing. You will see different types of soothing fatty acids in psoriasis body lotions such as stearic acid.
Stearic acid is a fatty acid that is commonly used in emollient creams, which supports the skin barrier and locks in moisture to keep the skin hydrated.
Evening primrose oil is a soothing oil that gamma-linolenic acid, which is a natural fatty acid that soothes the skin and is often used in skincare products for psoriasis.
Creams we like for psoriasis:
- CeraVe Psoriasis Skin Therapy Moisturizer Cream
- Zerafite Wrinkle Defense Barrier Cream-this is for the face but its strong antioxidants and soothing ingredients also help prevent aging and protect skin from pollution.
Body oils for psoriasis:
Psoriasis can be quite a distressing skin condition to manage because it causes itching and scaling and flaking and skin dryness. These can greatly impact your confidence and quality of life. However, there are a number of very effective psoriasis treatments available these days that can help to keep your psoriasis under control.
You should complement any medicated psoriasis treatment with a custom skincare routine for your face that will keep the skin calm and hydrated.
Can you leave psoriasis untreated?
Left untreated, psoriasis can result in long lasting concerns like worsening inflammation, dryness, and more. It is important to treat your psoriasis so it does not worsen or cause additional concerns.
Does Psoriasis get worse with age?
No, but if left untreated it can intensify and worsen. In effect, getting older without treating psoriasis can result in worse psoriasis as you age, but it does not worsen because of your age. There can be a correlation, but not a causation.
Best References and Scientific Publications on Psoriasis Skin Care Routines:
- Baumann L. Anti-inflammatory Ingredients in Ch. 38 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
- Baumann, L. Chapters 64-74 in Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
- Zander, N., Schäfer, I., Radtke, M., Jacobi, A., Heigel, H., & Augustin, M. (2017). Dermatological comorbidity in psoriasis: results from a large-scale cohort of employees. Archives of Dermatological Research, 309, 349-356.
- Lin, H. C., Alamdari, H. S., Huang, K. E., Gustafson, C. J., Davis, S. A., Balkrishnan, R., & Feldman, S. R. (2013). Prevalence of psoriasis and rosacea comorbidities in the outpatient setting. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 17(5), 295-298.
- Caldarola, G., De Simone, C., Talamonti, M., Moretta, G., Fossati, B., Bianchi, L., ... & Peris, K. (2019). Prevalence of cutaneous comorbidities in psoriatic patients and their impact on quality of life. European Journal of Dermatology, 29, 192-196.
- Al'Abadie, M. S., Kent, G. G., & Gawkrodger, D. J. (1994). The relationship between stress and the onset and exacerbation of psoriasis and other skin conditions. British Journal of Dermatology, 130(2), 199-203.