Resist the urge to scratch

Bring your itching under control

Psoriasis and skin irritation often go hand in hand, consequently many people experience itching. While scratching doesn’t actually make psoriasis spread, it does interfere with healing. So how can you avoid it? There are several steps you can take to help you to cope with the symptoms of psoriasis and bring the itching under control. Here are some simple ideas that might make a difference:

1. Make sure you treat your psoriasis

To help reduce itching you need to control the underlying cause – your psoriasis. Moisturising creams can help soothe your skin and keep it moist. In addition, many cream- or ointment-based treatments contain ingredients that can reduce both itching and inflammation. Keep some moisturizing cream next to your bed so you can apply some immediately if you wake up and feel the urge to scratch.

When you scratch wounded skin, you stop it from getting better.

2.Take a treatment bath

Long, hot showers removes moisture from the skin. You can have a soothing soak in a lukewarm bath with bath oil. Make sure the water is not too hot, and try to pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it. Afterwards, gently moisturise your skin with a moisturising cream or ointment and apply a sunscreen to exposed skin as necessary

3.Soothe the affected area

Apply a cold compress to the affected area. A raging itch is often accompanied by a burning sensation and cooling the skin down can help reduce the urge to scratch.

4.Keep your skin moisturised

Dry skin feels itchier than moisturised skin, so moisturise your skin regularly with moisturising cream or ointment. Winter can take a toll on your skin. The combination of dry air, indoor heating, wind, cold temperatures, heavy clothing and decreased sunlight exposure can worsen itching. In the summer heavy air conditioning can also dry out the skin. So, keep your skin well moisturised and consider using a humidifier, especially during winter.

5.Clothes and shoes

Wear light and breathable clothes that don’t irritate your skin. Avoid synthetic clothing that prevents sweating and may irritate when in contact with the skin. Also try to avoid very tight clothes, especially at the waist. Clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton, linen and silk are preferable. Many people with psoriasis also prefer to wear bright colours to make flakes (shed skin) less visible.

If your feet are affected, choose shoes that keep your feet cool and dry by allowing air to circulate freely. Avoid synthetic shoes and try using foam, polymer, cork or water-filled insoles to act as shock absorbers and relieve pressure on the skin. Avoid shoes with pointed toes, and socks or tights made from synthetic fibres.

6.Resist the urge to scratch

While scratching won’t make your psoriasis spread, it could lead to further worsening of your skin , causing lesions to become more painful, sore and even cracked. And when you scratch wounded skin, you stop it from getting better. This can make you feel more stressed, which in turn can make your symptoms worse. Distraction techniques may help. Make a note of what triggers your itching – for example, being on the telephone, watching TV – and find different behaviours to stop the itching.

7.Ask a doctor for help

If the itching is really getting you down, discuss it with your doctor. He or she may be able to recommend an alternative treatment for your condition; or put you in touch with a support group, which will enable you to discuss coping skills with people in a similar situation.

These steps can help you with the urge to itch. It is important to remember is that you are not alone, and that you can seek help from your doctor or pharmacist.