The thing about psoriasis is that there is little known about what exactly causes the inflammation. This can make it a difficult condition to treat, but luckily there is one skincare ingredient that has gained a good reputation for combating psoriasis, and that’s salicylic acid.
Before we dive in to finding out more about psoriasis and how salicylic acid helps, let’s have a brief recap on what they are and how they affect the skin.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease with an unclear cause to how it creates the inflammation on the skin, be it body, scalp, or face. There is often a link to an immunity problem, such as an overactive immune system which increases the speed at which the turnover of the skin cells works too rapidly and prevent dead skin cells from shedding off the skin but will instead build-up.
Over time this will lead to visible signs of inflammations on the skin, such as raised plaques and scales. These can often look like severely dry areas, and sometimes appear flaky. Those who suffer from psoriasis will describe it as itching, burning, and stinging. It can appear anywhere over the body, from your ears and scalp to the hands, feet, and eyelids.
Leaving psoriasis untreated can impact the organs and outer surface tissue of the skin, this will explain why many who suffer from psoriasis will also suffer from other health conditions or tend to feel under the weather a lot of the time.
What is Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid is one of the most used ingredients from the family of chemical exfoliants called, beta hydroxy acids (BHA). You’ll also find that it is derived from willow bark, which results in salicylic acid being oil-soluble meaning it is able to penetrate the lower layers of the skin and help unclog the pores.
Whilst clearing out the pores, salicylic acid also works on the outer surface of the skin removing any build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and other impurities that can often sit on the skin resulting in signs of premature ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone with areas of hyperpigmentation, and just a general lack lustre and dull looking complexion.
By sloughing away the layer of dead skin cells, you are ensuring other skincare products can absorb effectively and deliver results. Concerns with spots, blackheads and acne are also a thing of the past thanks to salicylic acid warding off excessive oil, debris and the spot causing P. acnes bacteria.
If you wanted to know more about salicylic acid and how it works on the skin, you can find out more over on The Beauty Insiders.
Does salicylic acid help psoriasis?
Yes, it can, salicylic acid is known for its exfoliating properties which has impressive results on the skin. With the potent BHA sloughing away the build-up of dead skin cells from the surface it will help combat the plaques and scales of skin caused by psoriasis. This will result in a softer, smoother complexion which will feel more comfortable and cleared of psoriasis inflammations.
One point you must remember is the varying potencies of salicylic acid can affect how it works on the skin. If, for example, if you use a stronger salicylic acid this can often cause irritation and if used on to treat scalp psoriasis can weaken the hair strands resulting in temporary hair loss. Therefore, it is very important to consult with a doctor, dermatologist, or medical professional before introducing SA into your daily skincare routine.
Does salicylic acid make psoriasis worse?
It can do, as effective as salicylic acid is at clearing signs of psoriasis on the body, it shouldn’t be used as a long-term treatment. Instead, it is advised to use salicylic acid to help by initially clearing the skin of any psoriasis flare-ups and rebalancing the skin making it softer.
For longer results without the side effects, it is best to consult with a dermatologist or doctor to find the optimal way of treating psoriasis.
Which acid is best for psoriasis?
As potent as it can be, salicylic acid is still considered the best acid to use to treat psoriasis. I have already mentioned the downside to using salicylic acid for an extended amount of time, therefore it is highly important to use the BHA as instructed and to avoid applying a liberal amount on the skin. It is also best to team salicylic acid with other hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or niacinamide. These will help counteract the drying results of the acid and keep the skin barrier comfortable.
Is salicylic acid good for scalp psoriasis?
Yes, it is, there are many different products available containing salicylic acid formulated to help treat scalp psoriasis. Depending on the potency of the ingredient in the product formula will determine how it’s used. You’ll find it’s either applied topically to the problem areas or used on a more regular basis in the form of a shampoos and haircare products.
Just word of warning, high potency can lead to hair strains becoming weak and brittle leading to hair loss. Although this is only temporary the inflamed irritated skin can take a long time to heal, only then will you see new hair growth once the skin is softened and calmed.
Can psoriasis go away?
Sadly, psoriasis can never go away completely, instead you’ll find it goes into remission which can flare-up at any time. Even without using any treatment you may find sometimes that psoriasis appears to improve and even disappear, this could be a result of many different things, such as your immune system functioning correctly.
The best way of combating this is to take each day as it comes, enjoy the times you find your psoriasis is cleared and prepare yourself for the next flare-up, especially as your approach winter months as these are the most difficult to keep on top of any future flare-ups.
How do you stop psoriasis from spreading?
There are some different ways of combating psoriasis flare-ups and prevent them from spreading. Here are some examples of the most effective ways proven to maintain your skin at its heathiest state.
- Always use a hydrating product
Keep the skin comfortable and hydrated by applying a moisturiser or serums enriched with hyaluronic acid or another moisturising ingredient, such as niacinamide or vitamin E. It is also thought a good idea to apply a thick amount of petroleum jelly over the skin at night to help lock in moisture leaving you with a comfortable and healthy complexion come morning.
- Prepare for dry, cold climates
It’s known that cold weather is psoriasis’s worse nightmare. Therefore, a well-established skincare routine as well as using a humidifier will keep the skin comfortable and prevent any flare-ups.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
This can sometimes feel impossible but try your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. This can include daily exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, and keeping an eye on your alcohol consumption.
- Avoid stress
Stress is a proven link to flare-ups in some skin concerns like psoriasis. To avoid a flare-up, try different relaxation techniques, this can be anything from reading, long walks, and yoga.
There you have a little more information about how salicylic acid can help with psoriasis. Don’t forget if you have any questions, come and follow us on Instagram.