9 Ways to Keep Costs Down for Psoriasis

by Casey Nilsson Patient Advocate

From creams to light therapy to biologics, psoriasis treatment is expensive—an estimated $8,000 per year per person, according to a 2015 review in JAMA Dermatology. Here are a few ways to keep costs down while still treating your disease carefully and adequately.

woman talking to dermatologist

Ask for Samples or Coupons

Before you lay down the credit card for expensive, long-term topical ointments, ask your dermatologist if he or she has any samples for you to test for skin reactivity. Barring samples, check with the front desk about coupons or other offers from pharmaceutical companies, or visit the maker’s website for deals.

Woman putting lotion on her leg after the shower.

Extend the Lifetime of Your Topicals: Apply After a Hot Shower or Tub

Pat your skin dry with a clean towel, then apply cream or ointment while the skin still retains moisture and your pores are open from your shower or bath. Bonus: Your hands are clean and you won’t risk contaminating your cream or your psoriasis lesions with dirt or germs.

Woman with moisturizer in her hands.

Extend the Lifetime of Your Topicals: Rub Them In

Instead of slathering on your cream or ointment, rub it directly into affected areas using circular motions. There’s only so much your skin can absorb, and you don’t want to risk rub-off.

hands pulling plastic wrap

Extend the Lifetime of Your Topicals: Use Plastic Wrap

Many psoriasis warriors swear by the wrap method, which prevents ointment rub-off and traps moisture in the skin. Apply your cream or ointment — using the aforementioned rub method — then immediately wrap the affected area with plastic wrap. Try to wrap up right before bed, applying tight-fitting clothing, gloves, or socks — this is especially affective for people with palmoplantar pustulosis, or psoriasis of the hands or feet — to keep the plastic in place.

Young woman applying coconut oil on wooden background

Find a Good, Cheap, Gentle OTC Solution

For many people with psoriasis, a good, affordable moisturizer can do wonders in preventing a flare-up of the skin. For palmoplantar pustulosis, add petroleum jelly to your rotation to trap in moisture. Another affordable — and eco-friendly — moisture-trapping solution: coconut oil. Shoot for extra virgin, and buy online instead of the fancy natural foods store.

Choose Anti-inflammatory Foods

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease, so by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, you may be able to manage a flare without expensive pharmaceutical interventions. Try salmon or sardines; dark berries including cherries and blueberries; leafy veggies including kale and spinach; and almonds. Green tea is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, as is ginger and turmeric — both of which can be bought in root or powdered form and added to soups, smoothies, and other dishes.

man walking for fitness

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is linked to a reduction in inflammation, so try to incorporate at least thirty minutes of exercise a day into your routine, even if it’s a short walk around the block.

Manage Your Stress

Although the link between stress and psoriasis is still being explored, many patients with psoriasis — including celebs Cara Delevigne and Kim Kardashian West — cite stress as a prominent trigger for their psoriasis flares. Finding ways to manage your own stress, from mindfulness in the morning to yoga on YouTube to deep breaths when you’re overwhelmed, could be good for your mind, your body and your wallet.

Soak Up Some Vitamin D

Last we checked, sunshine is still free. Safe sunning is a great, affordable addition to your psoriasis treatment regimen for its immunosuppressive qualities. Make sure to pack a strong sunscreen, too, to lower your risk of a sunburn.

pharmacist talking to man

Go Generic

Ask your doctor if there is a generic option available for your topical cream. Generic medications are copies of brand-name drugs and are just as effective, with the same strength — as well as risks and side effects — as their pricier counterparts.

woman talking on phone

Look Into Patient Assistance

If you rely on a biologic medication for your psoriasis treatment but you’re struggling to pay the out-of-pocket costs, talk to your doctor or reach out directly to a pharmaceutical representative to discuss your options. Some companies offer patient assistance for those who qualify.

Casey Nilsson
Meet Our Writer
Casey Nilsson

Casey Nilsson, an award-winning journalist and magazine editor based in Rhode Island, writes about autoimmune disease for HealthCentral. Casey is a 2018 Association of Health Care Journalists fellow, and her reporting on unfair labor conditions for people with disabilities was a finalist for the City and Regional Magazine Association Awards. Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2016, Casey enjoys digging into rheumatologic news, research and trends.