Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchy, red, swollen and scaly patches on the skin’s surface It commonly occurs on areas such as the elbows, face, knees, scalp, and trunk. Unfortunately, there is no cure for psoriasis, however, there are several effective ways to reduce both symptoms and frequency of psoriasis flare ups.
Aside from doctor-recommended treatments and topical creams, healthcare professionals often suggest avoiding certain products that trigger psoriasis, many of which can found in the following over-the-counter soaps
1. Antibacterial soaps
The FDA has banned the use of 19 antibacterial additives found in over-the-counter soaps. They found that these soaps don’t do anything to kill bacteria and viruses. They only encourage you to wash the germs from your hands. While antibacterial soaps contain the same properties as regular soaps, they also contain harsh ingredients, like hexachlorophene and triclosan, which can trigger skin conditions like psoriasis
2. Soaps containing botanical oils
Some patients with psoriasis have been led to believe that essential oils will soothe their dry and itchy skin. They are natural after all, right? While botanicals can make the skin look better, they can also cause problems in patients with already sensitive skin. For instance, many psoriasis patients report skin reactions and worsening symptoms when exposed to certain types of botanical oils. While botanical oils like frankincense may help certain patients; it may exaggerate symptoms in others.
3. Cocamidopropyl betaine based soaps
Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) is a fatty acid that’s commonly found in most personal care products that contain coconut oil, including soaps. If you know what your psoriasis triggers are, you want to avoid soaps with cocamidopropyl betaine from coconut oil. Common side effects include eye irritation and skin discomfort. CAPB is listed on the ingredient list under the labels hydroxide inner salt or 1-propanaminium
4. Soaps with methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and methylisothiazolinone (MI)
Soaps containing methylchloroisothiazolinone (or MCI) and methylisothiazolinone (or MI) can be effective in treating bacteria, fungi, and yeast problems. However, high concentrations of these ingredients can cause irritation and burns, especially in patients with sensitive skin. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, MCI was associated with allergic reactions. Most of those reactions were caused by cosmetics and leave-in products, but several patients noted soaps were also an issue.
5. Propylene glycol soap
Propylene glycol is an active ingredient that’s known to cause an allergic reaction. Studies have shown that it can activate eczema and plaque psoriasis. Common side effects after exposure include mild redness and skin irritation. Many patients claim that these symptoms usually go away within less than 24 hours after the body breaks down the compound
6. Strong fragrance soaps
Soaps that contain strong fragrances can be an issue for healthy skin, let alone for those with psoriasis. In fact, the itching and pain that’s commonly felt are often increased with the use of strong fragrance soaps. Instead, it’s advised to use gentle, fragrance-free cleansers that are hydrating and soothing
The best way to avoid these soaps is to keep a symptom journal to track your reactions to products. If you have psoriasis, talk to your doctor about a prescription for over-the-counter options that can help treat your psoriasis and help reduce flare ups. You should also read the list of ingredients associated with any new skincare product to ensure they don’t contain any of the above named additives. As always, it’s best to do your research or get a second opinion before trying a new soap or cleanser.