If you’re battling psoriasis, you’re not alone. The autoimmune disorder that causes red, flaky patches on the skin affects more than 7.5 million Americans, including celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Cyndi Lauper, who recently opened up about her struggles with the condition. Though there isn’t a cure for psoriasis, there are ways to relieve symptoms at home.
To reduce dryness and prevent lesions from forming, a moisturizing regimen is essential. “Coal tar creams and washes can be used to reduce the rapid accumulation of skin cells and can also decrease inflammation and itching,” Dr. Jessica Weiser of the New York Dermatology Group tells InStyle. There are also over-the-counter treatments available that contain ingredients like retinol or salicylic acid that can keep flaking at bay by removing dead skin cells, Weiser adds.
To temporarily soothe redness and itching, though, she recommends hydrocortisone cream—just don’t apply it for more than two weeks on the same affected area, she warns. Spending time in the sun is another proven remedy. As long as it’s done in moderation, she says (as in no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time), ultraviolet exposure can help clear up inflammation.
When flare ups do occur, a little makeup can go a long way in covering them up. “Using makeup to camouflage redness caused by psoriasis can be a way to feel more comfortable and confident when heading out into the world,” says makeup artist Nicole Walmsley. Just be sure to follow the instructions of your dermatologist, she says, and never apply makeup to any cuts or open lesions.
“First, hydrate the skin with a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic moisturizer like Neutrogena's Oil Free Moisturizer for sensitive skin ($13; ulta.com),” Walmsley advises. “Once the cream or lotion has soaked into the skin, apply a primer to the affected area. A primer can help to smooth the surface of the skin and encourage makeup to stay in place.” Consider a color-correcting formula in green or yellow to neutralize redness, she adds.
Next, using a makeup brush with synthetic bristles, tap a liquid foundation onto the skin. “You can also use your ring finger to stipple the color on to the skin as well,” she explains. “The warmth from your finger will make the foundation melt into the skin.” While most foundations will do the trick, if you’re looking for more coverage, Walmsley suggests a corrective formula like Dermablend’s Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation ($35; ulta.com).
Her final words of wisdom? Less is more. “Completely covering the skin, especially when there is uneven texture can look unnatural and actually draw attention to the problem area,” she says. “Keep it light—practice makes perfect!”
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