The 9 Best Lotions for Psoriasis of 2021

Heal flaky, red skin with these topical treatments

Psoriasis is a skin condition that most commonly causes red, scaly patches in areas along the body like the knees, scalp, and elbows. The long-term chronic condition has no cure, with people typically experiencing flare ups for a few weeks to a few months before it dies down. 

Although there is no cure to the condition, products on the market help to relieve dryness, itchiness, irritation, and discomfort. Not all lotions are created equal, with some using fragrances, dyes, and chemicals that can further irritate your psoriasis instead of relieving symptoms.

Mark Lebwohl, a New York board-certified dermatologist and member of American Academy of Dermatology, told Verywell Health that people should seek an expert opinion if over-the-counter topicals don’t relieve their psoriasis symptoms, as a prescription topical could provide better results. If you're looking for some OTC products to help soothe a last minute flare up, here are some of the best on the market.

Best Overall: CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin

Our skin contains ceramides, which are waxy lipid molecules that naturally occur within our cell’s membranes and are believed to play a role in reviving the skin’s protective barrier. That is why experts recommend CeraVe SA Lotion, as its formulate incorporates three types of ceramides to help hydrate the skin. 

The product also uses salicylic acid—a go-to ingredient to relieve psoriasis patches—as a chemical exfoliant to target dry skin. Then the lactic acid and the ceramides in the formula work to keep new skin exfoliated and hydrated. Besides all these benefits, the product is also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.

Itchiness can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of psoriasis, making it hard for you to focus on your everyday life. Cortizone-10 Anti Itch Lotion specifically targets that symptom to provide long-lasting relief to irritated skin. Included in the product is maximum strength hydrocortisone, a leading ingredient in treating itchiness. The hydrocortisone is combined with seven different types of moisturizers and two vitamins to hydrate the skin while helping it heal. 

Customers say the lotion is the “holy grail’ of aiding their psoriasis because it’s non-drying, compared to other anti-itch creams on the market, and it relieves their red and irritated skin patches.

Hydrating the skin after bathing is a crucial step to preventing dryness because completely toweling off before using lotion can deplete the barrier of necessary moisture. Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer takes this problem on at its head by providing you with a moisturizer to be used on wet skin.

Keep this bottle handy in the bathroom after you step out of the shower or bath. The formula is activated once it mixes with the water on your skin, helping it penetrate deep into the barrier. Ingredients include ceramides, shea butter, and pro-vitamin B5 to address any dryness or irritation.

Lubiderm’s Intense Skin Repair Lotion uses a dermatologist-developed formula and is one of the more “hardcore” moisturizers in the company’s line. The product uses Luberderm’s patented Hydrarelease technology, which is designed to absorb fast into the skin and last for 24 hours. 

Not only does the lotion provide quick hydration to dry patches, but it also strengthens the skin barrier so it can keep moisture locked in for longer. Customers rave about the non-greasy and non-irritating formula, saying it soothes their irritated skin fast.

The irritation, itchiness, and inflammation of the skin can cause immediate frustration for anyone with psoriasis. That’s where Gold Bond Ultimate Psoriasis Relief Cream comes in. The formula addresses multiple symptoms related to psoriasis—from scalliness to itchiness—all while incorporating a key ingredient: salicylic acid. 

The product works great for psoriasis patches around the knees, a common area for the skin condition to flourish, because it soothes the surface while providing maximum hydration to penetrate deep into the barrier. Customers say their psoriasis patches significantly improve within days of use.

Finding the best face lotion is not always easy, given how the surface can be more sensitive compared to other parts of the body. Abundant Natural Health Ocean Soothe Lotion is made with 100 percent all-natural ingredients to prevent any chemical irritants from further inflaming psoriasis patches. 

The formula combines seawater with aloe vera and tea tree oil. The product works by using salt from seawater, which is mixed with cucumber extract, to exfoliate the dry skin patches along the surface. The aloe vera and tea tree oil then soothe the exfoliated skin and hydrate the surface to prevent new scales.

Providing enough hydration to the hands can be a challenge, as they often are depleted of their moisture with hand washing and other tasks throughout the day. MG217 Medicated Salicylic Acid cream is fast-absorbing and doesn’t stain, meaning you can get back to your other tasks within minutes of use. 

The fragrance-free lotion is non-irritating and uses salicylic acid to target any psoriasis patches. Provitamin B5, avocado oil, shea butter, and aloe then mix in to provide hydrating relief. Customers rave that it's one of the few lotions that works for them to relieve dry patches.

Now we know shampoo is not technically lotion, but hear us out. Washing the hair removes the natural oils that help keep the scalp moisturized and healthy. This can further irritate any psoriasis patches already forming on the surface. 

This is where Neutrogena’s T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo comes in. The product addresses dryness and flakiness on the scalp that can be caused by psoriasis while also keeping the surface hydrated. Included in the formula is coal tar extract, which scientists say works up to four hours after hair washing to help the scalp shed dead skin cells.

Looking for a lotion that provides itchiness relief, repairs damaged skin cells, and smooths the skin, all while not using any harmful additives, fragrances, or chemicals? Then Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis Cream could be the lotion for you. 

The formula boasts all-natural ingredients, including organic aloe vera—an anti-inflammatory that penetrates deep to soothe cracked skin—and manuka honey, which provides healing properties. In all, the moisturizer combines vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to help seal in moisture so the skin stays hydrated for hours on end. Customers say the product brightens and smoothes their skin while minimizing psoriasis patches.

Final Verdict

When looking for an all-around moisturizer that you can use all over your body, we recommend CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin. The product provides just the right amount of hydration while smoothing patches. 

For something stronger to target flakier skin, we recommend MG217 Medicated Salicylic Acid Cream. The salicylic acid will work as an exfoliant to remove any dead skin cells that form from psoriasis.

What to Look For in a Lotion for Psoriasis

Ingredients: Not all ingredients are created equal in psoriasis topicals, as some can provide more benefits than others depending on who is using them. Universally, Dr. Lebwohl recommends avoiding any allergens, as they could further irritate the patches. If you like greasier lotions, then ones with ingredients like petroleum jelly are great choices. Salicylic acid is another beneficial ingredient to incorporate in your lotion.    

Location of Psoriasis: “Scalps are going to be treated differently than the body; the body is going to be treated differently than the groin; body folds are actually treated differently,” Dr. Lebwohl says. Paying attention to the location of your psoriasis and using products accordingly will better address the skin condition. 

Type: Psoriasis is a very personal skin condition, meaning what works for some people won’t work for others. That also is true with the type of lotion you can use. If you like a greasier product and have found it better relieves your patches, then look for something with petroleum jelly. For people who find greasier lotions irritating, it is best to avoid ingredients like petroleum jelly.

Why Trust Verywell

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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