For many people, psoriasis causes discomfort, frustration and even embarrassment. Furthermore, the condition is highly variable, and it is subject to unpredictable periods of flare-ups and remissions. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this autoimmune condition, but managing psoriasis is possible. The most important step you can take is seeing a dermatologist to get medication for psoriasis, but you can also take a variety of steps at home to manage flare-ups.
Avoid Skin Injury
People with psoriasis face a unique challenge when it comes to skin injuries. Things like cuts, scrapes, sunburns, rashes and skin infections can cause flare-ups in the affected areas. This is called the Koebner phenomenon. Whenever possible, you should protect yourself against these injuries. Furthermore, although it can be tempting, try not to scratch or pick at psoriatic patches. This causes the skin to become raw, irritated and vulnerable to infection, and it will only worsen the symptoms.
Psoriasis often presents with severely dry skin, and symptoms become worse as the dryness progresses. It’s extremely important for people with the condition to keep the affected areas moist by using thick lotions or creams designed to lock moisture into skin. These products can also help combat scaliness. As you rub the moisturizer into your skin, scales will often loosen and slough off. However, this should only be done if your doctor advises it.
Many experts recommend using products that contain therapeutic amounts of glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids. These improve exfoliation and skin cell turnover, which can help reduce or prevent scaly, thickened patches of skin. Avoid using these products on areas of broken, irritated or raw skin as it will aggravate the condition.
Get Sun, But Not too Much
Sun can be good for the skin, but never in excess. Moderate exposure to UV rays can help control how quickly skin cells develop, thereby controlling the severity of psoriasis symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that too much sun exposure not only harms skin in general but also exacerbates psoriasis. Ideally, your daily exposure should be limited to only 15 minutes.
Use a Humidifier
Because psoriasis causes skin to become very dry, a lack of moisture in the air will only make things worse. This is particularly true during fall and winter months. Investing in a humidifier can help keep the air inside of your home moist and may prove to be one of the most effective psoriasis treatments available.
Use Caution With Medications
The ingredients in some medications can trigger flare-ups or cause pre-existing symptoms to worsen. It’s strongly recommended to speak with your physician about any medications you’re taking to discover whether they could be increasing the frequency and severity of your flare-ups.
Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
Positive lifestyle changes, like eating well, exercising regularly and maintaining a proper weight for your height and frame, can help to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups. While no studies have found a conclusive link between psoriasis and diet, good nutrition is essential for all aspects of health. Weight management is important because psoriatic lesions tend to develop in folds of skin, which are more abundant in overweight people.
No studies have explicitly found that stress causes psoriasis or worsens its symptoms, but many doctors and experts believe that there is some relationship between them. Indeed, roughly 80 percent of people with autoimmune diseases report experiencing unusual periods of extreme psychological or emotional stress just before the onset of their disease or a flare-up of its symptoms. Therefore, taking steps to avoid and minimize stress are highly recommended for people struggling with psoriasis.