When managing psoriaisis, regular use of emollients (moisturisers) and gentle cleansers are part of the basic skin care that's recommended by dermatologists.
In mild cases of psoriasis, emollients alone may be enough to manage symptoms. In more severe cases, however, emollients and cleaners should be used in combination with prescription creams, ointments or systemic anti-inflammatory treatments as prescribed by your healthcare practitioner.
Regardless of the severity, all people with psoriasis should use emollients. In mild cases and during pregnancy and breastfeeding emollients are suggested as the first line of therapy.
Research shows that regular use of emollients helps to control symptoms of psoriasis. In particular, people with psoriasis who use emollients see a reduction in scaling, itching and even the number of psoriasis flare-ups.
Using emollients also helps other topical treatments to work better. Combining treatments such as prescribed creams and ointments (for instance steroids or Vitamin D) with emollients appears to support their effect, possibly by helping other topical treatment get through the skin more effectively. It is usually advised that emollients are applied about 15 to 30 minutes before other psoriasis topical treatments.
So, to summarise...
Basic skin care with emollients and gentle cleansers is proven to help control symptoms in psoriasis. Emollients work by moisturising dry skin, reducing scaling and relieving itching. They soften cracked areas and help other topical treatment work more effectively.
The advice in this post are based on the findings from an evaluation of studies on the role of emollients in psoriasis published between 2000 and 2012. The review was performed by a working group of five European dermatologists with clinical and research experience in psoriasis.