Besides heeding your doctor’s advice, you can do a lot of things to help prevent control psoriasis flare ups.
Treat your scalp and skin with care – Psoriasis sufferers should always take good care of their skin. Never scratch or peel out scales or lesions since doing so will only worsen your psoriasis. Cutting your fingernails on a regular basis is a smart way of preventing your psoriasis from flaring up. Follow your doctor’s advice for dealing with psoriasis in your scalp if you have any. Make sure that any topical treatments for scalp psoriasis like tar shampoos reach your scalp and not only your hair. You can also bathe regularly with tar solutions and other comforting products for your scalp and skin psoriasis.
Apply moisturizers on your skin – A dry skin just makes your psoriasis worse. Therefore, you always need to keep your skin moist with lotions and creams. Oily and thick moisturizers are the best types of moisturizers when dealing with psoriasis since these products help preserve the moisture in the skin for relatively long periods of time. Psoriasis scales can safely be removed with moisturizers particularly if you use a moisturizer on the affected skin and then wrap it with plastic wrap or tape.
Humidify your room – You can do this by using a humidifier. Keeping the air humid enables your skin to maintain its moisture especially during dry seasons.
Avoid cold and dry – Dry and cold weather often means bad news for people with psoriasis since it makes their symptoms worse. Warm and humid weather is an ideal climate for individuals with psoriasis, although there maybe some of them who might have symptoms that seems to get worse when the climate becomes humid and hot.
Avoid infections, bumps, cuts and scrapes – If you have psoriasis try to protect your skin as much as possible. Avoid contact sports or anything that may result in bruises, wounds, etc. A skin wound can trigger a flare up of your psoriasis and a condition termed Koebner’s phenomenon can occur if you have a wound in your skin. Psoriasis can develop or flare from a skin infection so avoid tattoos, chafing and insect bites at all times.
Do not use drugs that can cause flares – Inform your physician about all the medicines you are taking and ask him if any of them can activate psoriasis symptoms. Some of the medications reported to trigger psoriasis flares in some patients include:
- Quinidex or cardioquin – These are medicines for heart beat irregularities
- Propanalol – This can also include other beta-blockers that are used for heart problems
- Lithium – This is often used for psychiatric disorder treatment
If you have psoriasis and taking any one of these drugs, ask your doctor for appropriate alternatives.
Remove stress – No clinical evidence has been proven but almost all people with psoriasis experience flare ups when they face stressful situations. To lessen your stress you can avail of relaxation methods like acupuncture, yoga or meditation.
Get some sunlight – Adequate sun exposure that does not cause you sunburn is one way to hold back skin cell production if you have psoriasis. Actually it is the ultraviolet rays in sunlight that slows down skin production. Adequate sunlight exposure means you can expose your skin for about 20 minutes or so to the sun. If you exceed 20 minutes then you need to apply sunscreen to protect your skin. Sunburn does worsen psoriasis symptoms and it can even lead to a greater likelihood for skin cancer.
Steven Goldfarb is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Goldfarb Chiropractic and Acupuncture Center in West Orange, NJ.