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6 Tips for Making Yourself as Comfortable as Possible During a Psoriasis Flare

Managing PsA

Updated May 09, 2024

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Lumina/Stocksy United

Lumina/Stocksy United

by Jo-Anne T. Lagotang


Medically Reviewed by:

Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI


by Jo-Anne T. Lagotang


Medically Reviewed by:

Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI


Your psoriasis flare may not go away overnight, but there are steps you can take to relieve the pain and discomfort.

During a psoriasis flare, there’s not much more you want than relief and comfort — and you want it fast. But sometimes the pain from inflammation doesn’t go away nearly as fast as it arrives.

You may have sensations of burning, stabbing, throbbing, cramping, stinging, and more. No matter the intensity, pain is still pain, and though it may be inevitable with some chronic conditions, how you manage that pain is up to you.

One of the best ways to handle continued pain is by being proactive about getting the relief you need while your prescribed medications work to reduce your inflammation.

Here are some tips to help soothe your skin, reduce your symptoms, and keep you as comfortable as possible during a psoriasis flare:

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1. Keep your skin moisturized

Psoriasis inflammation causes the skin to become tight, dry, scaly, and itchy. Sometimes, these sensations can make it hard for you to focus on anything, interfere with your day-to-day tasks, and prevent you from enjoying the simple things in life.

The easiest way to find immediate relief is by keeping your skin moisturized and cool. This is where a good moisturizer is key.

I highly recommend establishing a moisturizing routine that works with your treatment plan.

To reduce the chance of further skin irritation, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends finding products that are:

  • hypoallergenic
  • alcohol-free
  • fragrance-free
  • dye-free

You can moisturize throughout the day and as often as needed. Moisturizing within 5 minutes after taking a bath or shower can help lock in moisture.

I find aloe vera very soothing when I have a flare. It especially feels good after it’s been in the fridge for a while, so the cool lotion feels good on itchy, sore skin.

— Joni, Bezzy Psoriasis guide

When you feel the urge to scratch, apply moisturizer instead to prevent cracking and bleeding of your lesion. A bonus tip is to try refrigerating your lotion and cream for an added cooling effect.

While these products will not directly address the underlying inflammation, they may provide you with some much-needed comfort and relief.

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2. Take a soothing bath

Taking a warm bath can be comforting, allowing your mind — and your body — to relax. A warm bath in combination with Epsom salt, sea salt, or colloidal oatmeal can soothe skin irritation.

Epsom salt can soften scales of psoriasis plaques while also relieving itch. The magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salt also helps reduce inflammation and promotes the skin to absorb water, which can help relax sore muscles and joints.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends bathing in warm water for no longer than 15 minutes.

3. Dress for success

What you choose to wear can help ease or worsen your symptoms during a flare. Comfort over style is a must, especially if you have scaly and painful lesions all over your body.

Being mindful of the kinds of materials you choose to wear can help.

Here are a few things to consider when building a psoriasis-friendly wardrobe:

  • Pick breathable fabrics: Avoid clothes that trap heat, make you sweat, and scratch your skin. Instead, choose clothes made of lightweight materials, like cotton, linen, or satin, that allow your skin to breathe.
  • Consider texture: Avoid clothing with fibers that may tug or pull on your lesions. As a general rule, lean toward natural over synthetic when possible.
  • Keep it loose: Choose loose-fitting clothes and undergarments. Tight clothes that rub against your lesions make them more irritated.
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4. Get some sun

Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin that can give you more energy and keep you calm, positive, and focused.

Natural sunlight is a strong producer of immunosuppression, and moderate exposure to sunlight can be very healing not only to your skin but also to your entire body.

The sun’s UVB rays are effective at treating psoriasis symptoms because they slow down the rapid rate of skin growth and shedding. The sun is also a natural source of vitamin D, which helps keep skin healthy.

Just remember that although the sun can be beneficial, it can also be potentially damaging.

Anytime I’m taking in sunlight, I try to listen to my body. If my body is starting to feel tender, it’s time to go inside.

— James, Bezzy Psoriasis ambassador

When soaking up the sun, you may want to limit your time outside to 10-minute increments to reduce the risk of damage or sunburn. Try to avoid being outside during the sun’s peak hours, and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every 2 hours.

5. Stay active

Physical activity can help you maintain your weight and lower your risk of developing other conditions. Exercise can not only reduce inflammation but also boost endorphins, improving your mood and energy levels.

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore. There are plenty of ways to stay active and still have fun.

Pick an activity that you enjoy, go easy, and start slow at first. You can listen to Bezzy’s ultimate walking playlist during your next stroll or try doing an at-home yoga flow.

I listen to music when I go for walks, and it helps me relax and forget about my problems.

— Claire57, Bezzy Psoriasis community member

Being physically active can also lead you to take up new hobbies, like attending an exercise class or gardening.

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6. Take time to unwind

If you live with psoriasis, you know very well that stress can make your flare-ups worse. Although you can’t completely avoid stress, there are several tools you can use to manage stress while keeping your psoriasis symptoms managed, too.

Try to avoid highly charged situations, set your priorities, and consider trying these activities to unwind:

  • breathe deeply and slowly
  • meditate
  • get a massage
  • get enough sleep
  • write in a journal
  • avoid unhealthy habits
  • call up a friend to vent
  • seek support from a group or a professional

The bottom line

Living a life with psoriasis is not always easy, but there are ways you can make yourself more comfortable.

The most important step is to be gentle and kind to yourself — especially when you’re dealing with a flare.

There may be times when you feel overwhelmed by the changes and challenges, but over time, you can adapt to them. Be gentle and be patient because the time will come when the pain eases. Hopefully, that time is soon.

Originally written May 25, 2022

Medically reviewed on May 09, 2024

2 Sources

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