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Gaining control over Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a disease that needs to be managed inside out. There are many environmental factors that can trigger symptoms and signs of Psoriasis. Keeping a record of your symptom flares will help you and your Dermatologist to identify the right triggers and keep them at bay.

1. Learn about your Psoriasis triggers and how to avoid them[1]

Gaining Control

Once you have positively identified your triggers, do all you can to avoid them. Here are some helpful tips and lifestyle changes that you can adopt.

Reduce risk of flare-ups from stress[2]
It is important for you to identify your stressors i.e., situations or feelings that increase your anxiety and inculcate lifestyle changes to manage your stress.

Stress busters

  • Yoga, meditation, support groups
  • Deep breathing when you feel anxious

Remember, stress relieving practices should be carried out even when you are feeling calm.

Stress busters

Reduce the risk of flare-ups from a skin injury[3]
Injuries are your triggers? Here are some quick tips for you

  • Treat injuries immediately.
  • In case of itchy skin, use a prescribed fragrance-free moisturizer to calm it. Avoid scratching as it can cause flare-ups.
  • Use insect repellents to avoid bites, especially if you are outdoors during dawn or dusk.

Reduce the risk of weather-related flare-ups
Seasonal flares can affect healthy skin as well as Psoriatic skin. However, managing seasonal changes can be a challenge if you are suffering from Psoriasis.

Impact of winter on Psoriatic skin
A combination of dry air, less sunlight and a drop in temperature can prove disastrous to your already inflamed and itchy skin, causing an sharp increase in itchiness and flaking resulting in flares[4][5]

Tips to handle dry, cold weather

Here are some handy hints to handle dry, cold weather[3][6][7]

  • Treat symptoms when they are just starting.
  • Limit your shower-time. 10 minutes is ideal.
  • Use warm, rather than hot water. Hot water tends to rob your skin of its much needed moisture.
  • Use mild or soap-free body wash.
  • Liberal use of a thick moisturizer after a bath is a good idea.
  • In case of extremely dry weather, use a humidifier.
  • Stay warm when you go outside. Dressing in layers may be a good idea. Using several layers of cotton clothes instead of a single woollen jacket will prevent sweating and itchiness.
  • Change out of wet clothes when you come in from the cold.
  • Avoid sitting too close to a radiator, fireplace or other heat sources.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.

Impact of summer on Psoriatic skin[3][8]
A rise in temperature and humidity can cause profuse sweating leading to skin irritation and a subsequent increase in flakes and itch. Other reasons for flare-ups could be the increased time spent in an air-conditioned environment or if you have a sunburn.

Tips to handle Psoriasis in warm weather

In warm weather, here are some tips to reduce risk of triggering your symptoms[3][8][7]

  • If you spend time in air conditioning, apply moisturizer immediately after bathing and throughout the day whenever your skin feels dry.
  • Use a sunscreen cream or lotion before going out into the sunlight. Use a sunscreen on parts of the skin that is not covered by clothing and is free of Psoriasis.
  • Use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 or higher, and is water resistant.
  • Bathe often.
  • Choose cool, comfortable cotton clothing.
  • Moisturizing is an important ritual even in summers. Ask your Dermatologist to help you choose the moisturizer that suits you best.

Reduce the risk of flare-ups from smoking and drinking[3]

  • Stop smoking. Avoid being around people who are smoking.
  • If you are trying to quit and want to use a nicotine patch, it is best to consult your Dermatologist whether using it could trigger your Psoriasis.
  • Quit drinking. If you continue to drink, limit your quantity.
  • Let your Dermatologist know if you drink alcohol since it may cause a reaction or reduce the effectiveness of certain medications.

Reduce the risk of flare-ups due to infection[3]

  • Reach out to your Dermatologist immediately to get infections treated. This can lessen or clear the Psoriasis.
  • If you have an infection, inform your Dermatologist about it and ask about its impact on your Psoriasis.

Reduce the risk of flare-ups from medication[3]

  • If you feel that a medicine that you are taking is causing your flare-ups, Do not stop taking it. Consult your Dermatologist immediately.
  • Prior to beginning a new medicine, inform your Dermatologist about your disease condition and the medicines you are currently taking.
  • Before taking a medicine for the first time, ask the Dermatologist prescribing it if the medicine could cause Psoriasis to flare.

2. Adhere to the prescribed skin care routine

Caring for your skin is an important part of the Psoriasis treatment strategy. Incorporate these simple skin rituals to help you deal with your symptoms better:[10]

  • Remove the scales using topical medicines with salicylic acid helps to soften the scale. Less scale often means less itchiness. Ask your Dermatologist or skin specialist for the medicine that suits you the best.
  • Moisturizing, especially after a bath is a ritual you cannot afford to forget. The right moisturizer or Psoriasis cream will help rehydrate the skin, reduce redness and may also help healing.
  • Apply a thick coat of moisturizer or a fragrance-free Psoriasis lotion before going to bed.
  • While bathing, wash your skin gently with your hands. Avoid the use of loofahs, bath puffs or scrubbers which can increase irritation and cause a flare-up.
  • Use a gentle fragrance-free soap. Rinse away the soap thoroughly.
Gaining Control

Ask your Dermatologist for a skin care routine that will suit your unique Psoriasis. The appropriate treatment strategy and the right skin care routine is your key to Unhide!

3. Use medicines as prescribed by your Dermatologist

Use Prescribed Medicines

Treating Psoriasis depends on the extent of symptoms and the type of Psoriasis. Few people with a mild form of the disease are able to manage their symptoms with the right moisturizer, an anti-dandruff shampoo and sunlight. But most Psoriasis sufferers need specialised treatment to control their symptoms[11]
Finding the right treatment that suits your unique Psoriasis symptoms is very crucial.
Medical science has greatly evolved in the last decade which has led to the development and availability of many different types of treatments to manage Psoriasis better.
Your Dermatologist would have prescribed medications based on your symptom type and severity.

Did you know you can assess how Psoriasis is impacting your life?

All you need to do is fill up a simple questionnaire called the Dermatology Life Quality Index Score. This questionnaire measures how much your Psoriasis has impacted your life over the past week. Each answer that you give has a rating which will enable your Dermatologist to make an assessment on how well your treatment is working for you.

Understanding your treatment choices will help you and your Dermatologist work out your optimal treatment strategy.

4. Live a healthy lifestyle

Psoriasis is a disease that needs not only the right treatment approach, but also the right lifestyle modification. It is through being physically active and eating well that you can make yourself better able to tackle Psoriasis head on.

Healthy Diet

Psoriasis and exercise
While exercising is an important part of managing your overall health, it also plays a major role in the management of Psoriasis. Physical activity can help you lose weight and is known to reduce inflammation and other Psoriasis-related symptoms.

Here’s a list of exercises that will help:[12]

Stretching

Stretching and range-of-motion (yoga/tai chi)

Weight training

Strengthening, such as weight training

Aerobics

Aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, etc.)

Start with lighter activities, gradually progressing to more strenuous work-outs. It is important to consult your Dermatologist before initiating any exercise routine. Physical activity of any kind can sometimes be difficult, mainly due to sweating and friction which tends to further irritate your skin.[13]

Here are some tips to reduce irritation and make your exercise routine enjoyable

  • Choose cool, loose clothes.
  • Apply a lubricant or moisturizer on the affected skin. Petroleum jelly or talcum powder work to prevent friction.
  • Exercising at home is also a good option if you are not ready to hit the gym.

Psoriasis and diet[14]
There is not much evidence about the role of dietary modification and Psoriasis triggers. However, it is important that you eat right so that you are able to maintain a healthy weight. Appropriate nutritional status also helps you prevent gaining weight and will enable you to ward off infections effectively.

Remember, weight gain and infections can trigger a flare-up.

Healthy Diet

It is important that you gain control over your Psoriasis symptoms so that you can see ‘clearer skin’, improve your overall health and prevent your disease from worsening.[1]

Talk to your Dermatologist
about biologics for clear* skin

*No plaque elevation, erythema or
scaling, hyperpigmentation maybe present.

You may want to read

References

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Psoriasis overview Available [Online] at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/what/overview Accessed on 10 January 2020.

  2. National Psoriasis Foundation. Stress and Psoriatic Disease. Available [Online] at: https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/stress Accessed on 25 January 2020.

  3. American Academy of Dermatologists Association. Available [Online] at: Are triggers causing your psoriasis flare-ups? Available [Online] at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/triggers/flares Accessed on 20 January 2020.

  4. Frequently asked questions: Psoriasis in spring, summer, fall and winter. Available [online] at URL: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/faqs/weather. As accessed on December 26, 2019.

  5. How to prepare for seasonal changes if you have psoriasis. Available [online] at URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/seasons#spring. As accessed on December 26, 2019.

  6. Tips for winter psoriasis. Available [online] at URL: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/features/winter. As accessed on December 24, 2019.

  7. Health line. Tips for managing Psoriasis in the cold weather. Available [online] at URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/moderate-to-severe/how-to-bundle-up-this-winter-without-making-your-psoriasis-symptoms-worse. As accessed on December 24, 2019.

  8. Psoriasis management tips for each season. Available [online] at URL: https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/psoriasis-treatment-management/psoriasis-seasonal-tips/. As accessed on December 27, 2019.

  9. Health Line. These surprising triggers may be making your psoriasis worse. Available [online] at URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/change-over-time#1. As accessed on December 27, 2019.

  10. American Academy of Dermatologists Association 8 ways to stop baths and showers from worsening your psoriasis. Available [Online] at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/skin-care/baths-showers Accessed on 10 January 2020.

  11. Harvard Health. Psoriasis is more than skin deep. Available [Online] at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/psoriasis-more-than-skin-deep Accessed on 10 January 2020.

  12. A patient guide to psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis. Available [online] at: http://www.walgreens.com/images/pdfs/pharmacy/11SP0202_Psoriasis_Overview_BKLT.pdf. Assessed on 29 December 2015.

  13. Psoriatic lifestyle and nutrition. Available [online] at URL: https://www.papaa.org/media/2252/psoriatic_lifestyle_and_nutrition.pdf. As accessed on 29 October 2019.

  14. National Psoriasis foundation. Psoriasis and diet. Available [Online] at: https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/diet-psoriasis-research Accessed on 10 January 2020.