January 6, 2011
How can I reduce the itching?
Psoriasis is not necessarily itchy; however, many patients do suffer from itching. Scratching, also called excoriation, can lead to breaks in the skin with more inflammation and more itching, which can become a vicious cycle. One way to minimize this is to moisturize well, which will reduce the dryness and scaling. Also, avoid removing the scales mechanically. Instead, allow moisturizers to work gently to minimize the scaling. Medications called keratolytics, which contain lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea may be prescribed to decrease the thick scales. Internal medications such as antihistamines may help to decrease itching to allow for a good night’s sleep.
Elizabeth A. Abel, M.D., is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is currently practicing in Mountain View California at the California Skin Institute and evaluates patients with all forms of psoriasis. Dr. Abel has served as an Advisory Board Member of the National Psoriasis Foundation, as Assistant Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and is the 2010-2011 President of the Pacific Dermatologic Association.
Dr. Abel is a member of the Adjunct Clinical Faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine. She received her medical training at New York University and at the University of Maryland. She has over 80 publications in the peer-reviewed medical literature, and is the author of 22 book chapters and Editor of “Photochemotherapy in Dermatology”.