Psoriasis: How to Deal with Cracked, Bleeding Skin

Unfortunately, cracks in your skin are uncomfortable and could increase your risk of infection. Here’s how to prevent and manage skin cracking and bleeding.

First-Aid Care for Cracked Skin

If you develop cracks or fissures in your skin, it’s important to take steps to treat the wound and reduce your risk of infection. Follow these tips.

Wash your hands. Use warm, soapy water to wash your hands before touching your skin.

Stop the bleeding. Apply gentle pressure to the fissure with a clean bandage or cloth until the bleeding stops.

Clean the cut. Rinse the wound under running tap water and clean the surrounding area with soap. Gently remove any dirt, lint, or other debris from the wound.

Watch for infection Generally, psoriasis plaques don’t get infected, but if they’re cracked or open, they could, says Khattri. Watch for pus or yellow discharge, tenderness to the touch, worsening redness on or around the lesion, or any systemic problems such as fevers or muscle pain, as these can be signs of infection, she adds. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these or if the wound isn’t healing.

How to Prevent Skin Cracks and Bleeding

Following your psoriasis management and treatment plan can help reduce your risk of developing fissures, as can practicing self-care habits to protect your skin.

Keep your skin moisturized. Dry skin is more likely to crack and bleed. Avoid long showers or baths, which can dry out skin, and apply cream or ointment after you shower, take a bath, or wash your hands to help lock in moisture.

Remove scales. Over-the-counter lotions and creams with salicylic acid can help decrease the buildup of scales, says Khattri. Plain old moisturizer has its place, too. “A good moisturizer that helps with dryness and skin healing can be a helpful [addition],” she adds.

Be gentle on your skin. If you use an abrasive product, such as a pumice stone, to remove scaly skin, you could be doing more harm than good. “There is a possibility that such aggressive measures could result in bleeding,” notes Khattri.

Avoid your triggers. Knowing your psoriasis triggers and taking steps to avoid them can help prevent plaques from developing in the first place. Common triggers include stress, smoking, cold weather, and injuries to the skin.

Talk to Your Doctor About Your Psoriasis Treatment Plan

Look at your psoriasis symptoms as part of the bigger picture, says Khattri. If your skin is frequently cracking and bleeding, it may be a sign that your condition isn’t well controlled and you need to discuss options with your doctor to better manage it. See a dermatologist if your skin continues to bleed and crack, is breaking over a large area of your body, or impairs your quality of life, advises Khattri.

There are many treatment options for psoriasis, including medicated topical treatments that are mostly available by prescription, as well as 1 percent hydrocortisone, which is available over the counter, says Khattri.

If topical treatments aren’t enough to manage your psoriasis, you doctor may recommend systemic therapies, such as biologics. Unlike topicals, which are applied directly to the skin, systemic medications are taken orally or injected and alter the immune system to help control the underlying inflammation that causes psoriasis. Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that will help keep your psoriasis symptoms under control.

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