Psoriasis and Breastfeeding – Is it Safe, Treatment & Tips to Manage

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Psoriasis While Breastfeeding

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that if once occurs stays with you for life. It is a genetic disease where our body mistakenly produces skin cells way before their due date. As a result, the skin of the affected area rapidly peels out like whitish flakes along with dryness and itchiness. So, what happens when you have psoriasis when breastfeeding? Can you continue to breastfeed your baby?

As psoriasis does not spread through touch, cough, or sneezing you must not deprive your baby of the valuable breast milk.
Breastfeeding in psoriasis is possible. Even if you have psoriasis on your breasts, still you can breastfeed. Here are some tips for you to safely and comfortably breastfeed your baby while having psoriasis. You will also get to know all about psoriasis and how to control it.

In This Article

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition where the hyperactive immune system of the body impacts the usual duration of skin production. Normally skin cells take three weeks to cycle (grow and shed). But in a person with psoriasis skin cells take only three to four days to cycle. As a result, they witness plaques or scaly buildup and inflammation on their skin especially over the joint areas.

There are two types of Psoriasis

  • Normal psoriasis (Ps) which spreads all over the body 
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) which mainly targets the skin near the joints and causes pain and inflammation in the joints

Psoriasis is not contagious but it can pass genetically to the next generation.

Is it Safe to Breastfeed When You Have Psoriasis?


As psoriasis does not spread through skin-to-skin contact, you can breastfeed your baby while having psoriasis. In fact, according to a study published in NCBI, through breastmilk, you cannot transfer immunity against autoimmune diseases like psoriasis to your baby.

Another study published in ScienceDirect states that though psoriasis is a genetic disease, there is only a 10% chance of psoriasis transmission to the baby if one of the parents has it. But in case both parents have psoriasis, the risk of the baby getting the disease rises to 50%. So even if you have psoriasis, you can plan your family and even safely breastfeed your baby with some precautions.

Can Breastfeeding Trigger a Psoriasis Flare-Up?

There is no evidence that breastfeeding triggers a psoriasis flare-up. But if you get psoriasis on the skin of your breasts or near the nipples then the rub and friction during breastfeeding, breast enlargement due to milk production, cracks and soreness of the nipples can all together cause more irritation and itching on your psoriatic skin.

Though breastfeeding alone does not cause psoriasis flare-up, after delivery you can witness an increase in psoriasis. This is because during pregnancy psoriasis is subdued a bit so that the body accepts the baby.

According to a report of NCBI, a high concentration of progesterone hormone down regulates the proliferative response of the T cells responsible for psoriasis. But after giving birth when the body starts behaving like earlier almost 60 to 80 percent of women witness a hike in their psoriasis.

Stress and lack of sleep while looking after a newborn can also trigger the recurrence of psoriasis.

[Read : 10 Effective Treatments For Relieving Engorged Breasts]

How to Treat Psoriasis While Breastfeeding?

Treating Psoriasis While Breastfeeding

Psoriasis, as it is an autoimmune chronic disease, is not fully curable. The symptoms of psoriasis will come and go throughout one’s life. With medications, you can only get some relief from skin irritation or subdue the symptoms to some extent.

You can treat psoriasis in different ways while breastfeeding. The safest way is to do topical treatment such as using moisturizer, petroleum jelly, and emollients on the affected areas. Application of any doctor-recommended moisturizer will soften the skin and reduce dryness and itchiness.

It is wise to avoid medicines for psoriasis while breastfeeding a baby but you can take them on your doctor’s suggestions if your condition is bad. You can apply low-dose steroids on the affected area or take oral steroids like prednisolone and Prednisone while breastfeeding.

Phototherapy is another treatment option you can choose while nursing your baby. While UVB phototherapy is safe during breastfeeding, PUVA phototherapy is not. The medicine psoralen used in PUVA phototherapy can transmit through breast milk and make your baby over-sensitive to lights.

Tips to Help You Manage Psoriasis While Breastfeeding

While the emergence of psoriasis is not in your hands, managing the situation bravely is what you can surely do. Here are some tips you can follow to manage psoriasis during breastfeeding

  • As stress, cigarettes, and alcohol are associated with psoriasis flare-ups you need to avoid them completely.
  • You can relax your mind with the help of meditation and yoga.
  • Always moisturize your skin gently.
  • In case of psoriasis on the breasts, use moisturizers in between breastfeeding. Clean your breasts before breastfeeding otherwise, the baby may intake the moisturizer along with breastmilk.
  • Use a pillow to lift your baby to your breast.
  • Use a soft towel to cover your breast other than the nipple area while breastfeeding to avoid direct rubbing of the skin.
  • Breastfeed while leaning on a sofa or cushion to relax your joints.
  • Take a cold water bath rather than a hot water bath.
  • Do not bathe in the sea, river, streams, and ponds as any bacteria or fungus present in that unfiltered water can worsen the condition.
  • You can place ice packs on the inflammation for relief.
  • Avoid harsh sunlight as much as possible

Embrace your skin no matter what happens. It is obvious to feel embarrassed or insecure with psoriatic skin but you will have to accept the fact and move on.

[Read : Exercising While Breastfeeding]

When to See a Doctor?

When to Consult a Doctor

As there is a chance of a sudden increase in psoriasis after childbirth, you need to see your dermatologist within the first few weeks. With balanced medication and care you can control your psoriasis from worsening. You need to ask for a doctor’s help if;

  • Your symptoms are not improving with continuous treatment
  • You witness a sudden hike in the symptoms
  • Your psoriasis is impacting your mental health and social life.
  • You develop scalp psoriasis as the treatments of scalp psoriasis are quite difficult
  • Psoriasis arthritis or pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints make your everyday living challenging
  • You develop eye infection, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, or problems in bowel movement as these are all the side effects of psoriasis.

To conclude, psoriasis is a lifelong disease. And being a skin disease, it affects your psychological health more than your physical health. Studies show that the feeling of embarrassment is more common in people with psoriasis than the patients dealing with cancer. Pregnancy and child care can bring lots more responsibilities and stress. But you will have to be open to seeking help and support from your friends and family. With a mutual effort, you can manage your baby and your health comfortably.


1. Can My Baby Get Psoriasis if I Have it?

There is only a 10 percent chance for your baby to get psoriasis from you. But the chances rise to up to 50 percent if both the parents have psoriasis as it is a genetic disease.

2. Which Fruit is Not Good For Psoriasis?

Citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit are known to be common allergens. And often an allergic reaction causes a sudden flare in psoriasis. So, if you feel your psoriasis is worsening after eating citrus fruits then skip them for some time to see if it improves or not.

Read Also: Breastfeeding and Thrush – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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