9 Ways to Manage Psoriasis on Your Faceby Claire Gillespie Health Writer
Psoriasis on the face may affect the eyelids, the eyebrows, the skin between the nose and upper lip, the upper forehead, the ears, and the hairline. Because the skin on the face is thinner and more delicate than skin on other parts of the body, it may be more sensitive to treatments. It’s therefore crucial to choose products carefully — taking your doctor or dermatologist’s advice and recommendations on board — and look out for any adverse reactions.
Get a Prescription From Your Dermatologist
Your dermatologist may prescribe a low-potency corticosteroid ointment, cream, lotion, or spray to reduce redness and swelling. Another treatment for facial psoriasis is synthetic vitamin D, such as calcipotriene (Dovonex, Sorilux) or calcitriol (Rocaltrol, Vectical) ointment or cream. Some dermatologists recommend pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic), which are FDA-approved for atopic dermatitis, but should only be used for a short time.
Apply Topical Treatments With Care
If you use a topical treatment for facial psoriasis, make sure you follow the directions for use, and are aware of any side effects. Some treatments can result in temporary skin irritation, burning, or stinging, Apply the treatment carefully in small amounts, taking special care if applying it around the delicate eye area. Your doctor may prescribe just one treatment or a mixture, so make sure you follow instructions.
Moisturizing doesn’t get rid of psoriasis, but it does make your skin feel better and help to ease dryness, itching, and scaling. Opt for natural, fragrance-free products that won’t irritate your skin further. In an email interview with HealthCentral, dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D. said that she recommends Cerave Moisturizing Cream, which contains essential ceramics and hyaluronic acid to form a protective barrier on the skin. Get into a habit of moisturizing every morning and night, and whenever your skin feels dry or tight.
Try Light Treatment
If your facial psoriasis is severe, your doctor may suggest phototherapy, which is treatment with ultraviolet (UV) light, to slow skin cell growth. Options include UVB phototherapy, narrow band UVB phototherapy, Goeckerman therapy (a mixture of UVB treatment and coal tar), and psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA). Psoralen is a medication that you take before UVA therapy to make your skin more sensitive to light. Your doctor will advise you on the phototherapy option most suitable for your skin.
Nourish Your Skin From the Inside
Taking care of your skin starts with your diet. While there’s no scientific evidence that particular types of foods help with psoriasis, many dermatologists — and people with psoriasis — swear by healthy eating to help keep skin in good condition and prevent flare ups. “Good fats are your friends!” says occupational therapist Pooja Shah, OTD, OTR/L in an email interview with HealthCentral. She recommends adding ghee oil or avocado oil to your meals to make your skin glow.
Apply Tea Tree Oil
Shah also recommends tea tree oil to help reduce psoriasis flare ups on your face. Simply add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and run it gently over the affected parts of your skin. Tea tree oil, which is extracted from the plant Melaleuca alternifolia, is known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, and is a gentler, natural alternative to the harsh chemicals found in many cosmetic skincare products.
Use Organic, Natural Makeup
Makeup can give you a much-needed confidence boost when you have psoriasis on your face. However, it’s important to use makeup products that won’t irritate your skin further. Shah recommends using organic, natural makeup, and checking with your doctor first that the products won’t prevent any topical treatments from working. Always apply makeup with clean fingertips, using a light touch to avoid removing any scales, which can worsen them or lead to the development of new rashes.
Find Ways to Manage Stress
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, stress is a trigger for psoriasis. This makes stress management important for anyone with psoriasis, to keep flare ups to a minimum. Try to reduce your stress levels with yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, regular exercise, and any other activities that make you feel relaxed and happy.
Seek Emotional Support
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis are twice as likely to become depressed as the rest of the population. If you think it would help to talk about your psoriasis, look for a local support group, confide in a trusted friend, or consider seeing a therapist. Your doctor might be able to recommend a support group or psychologist. The National Psoriasis Foundation also offers an online support group on their website.