So I think anyone who has psoriasis or has caught themselves glued to a Kardashian Marathon on TV (you know who you are, “just dusting the entertainment center and it was on in the background”) knows about the infamous breast milk episode. If you don’t, here’s the recap: Kim K. has psoriasis and she heard that breast milk helps to control the outbreaks. So, being Kim K., she kinda steals some of her lactating sisters’ breast milk to try it out.
First and foremost, allow me to clear this up for you before you go popping up at a friends home grazing her fridge for breast milk; BREAST MILK DOES NOT HELP TO CLEAR UP PSORIASIS. I know the feeling of complete desperation when you have an outbreak, trust me. But please don’t throw a milk pumping party based on KK’s little stunt. That being said… Why don’t we chat about what WILL help when you have a flare up.
There are really so many different things you can do to manage your psoriasis but lets narrow this blog down to topical treatments. A topical treatment would be anything you put on top of your skin. Topicals slow down or normalize excessive cell reproduction and reduce psoriasis inflammation.
Over the counter:
Salicylic acid: This is classified as a peeling agent and works by causing the outer layer of skin to shed. It acts as a scale lifter, helping to soften and remove psoriasis scales.
Coal Tar: This works really well for me. It does smell a little funky but you get used to it. “Tar can help slow the rapid growth of skin cells and restore the skin’s appearance. In addition, it can help reduce the inflammation, itching and scaling of psoriasis. Generally, the higher the concentration of tar, the more potent the product.” (psoriasis.org) I personally like the Grandpa Brand and I swear by their tar soap. If I am using tar creams or ointments, I typically wrap that part of my body in saran wrap because it is a little messy. Leave it on for a few hours or even overnight if you can and then bathe as usual.
Soaps, Lotions and Perfumes… oh my! I always take lukewarm showers, never too hot because it irritates the skin, and I steer clear of soaps with any fragrance in them. If I don’t use my Grandpa Tar Soap, I use baby wash. (So basically I smell like I am either 3 years old or 103 years old). The same goes for my lotion. Simple, no perfumes or chemicals. Again, I find baby lotion works well for me. OK ladies (and gents)… here’s the tricky one. Perfumes and/or colognes. I know, I know… you have a hot date tonight and you don’t want to smell like Benjamin Button (or maybe you do, depending on what age he’s at). I recommend spraying your clothing, setting it aside and letting it settle. So i promise you will smell great and since you aren’t directly applying it to your skin, you’re definitely minimizing your chances of irritation.
I CANNOT stress this enough: do NOT use anyone else’s skin creams when it comes to prescribed lotions and creams. Everyone’s skin is different so please do not use anything unless it is prescribed to you. Consult your doctor about any creams or sprays in general but SPECIFICALLY if they are not over the counter.
Typically your doctor of dermatologist will prescribe a steroid cream or spray of some sort. These did not work for me but they have worked for many other people I know.
The key to all this is to be patient. Find a combination and regiment that works for YOU. It took me some time but I did manage to get a system going and a flow and It sounds like a lot of work, I know, but once you get into the swing of things, all this applying, spraying, wrapping, washing, rubbing… it will become second nature.
Moral of the story is: Milk a cow, not your friends; it’s not cool.
*** Are there any products you use that work for you better than others? Do you have any tricks you want to share? (psst.. we won’t tell) ***