Psoriasis is a condition originating in the immune system that can appear in many different forms and can affect any part of the body, including the nails and scalp. The patches may be silver or red. It is characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. As underlying cells reach the skin’s surface and die, their sheer volume causes raised, red patches covered with white scale.
When you have psoriasis, it’s important to follow the advice of your doctor. Besides there is a lot, you can do to prevent flare-ups.
Promote the Use of Moisturizing lotions. Keep your skin moist with creams and lotions. Petroleum jelly, is best. It serves better by trapping moisture beneath the skin. To help remove scales, apply cream on top of them, then cover the area with plastic wrap or another waterproof material. Leave it on for a few hours, then remove.
Take Good Care of your skin and Scalp: Never pick at patches or scales. Use caution when trimming your nails. If you cut yourself, it might make symptoms flare. If you have psoriasis on your scalp, rub your topical treatments — such as tar shampoos — into your scalp. Regular bathing with soothing products, such as tar solutions, may bring relief, too. Use a mix of almond oil and olive oil for head oil soak. These are great natural oils that provide a hydrating effect on our scalp and also make it quite soft.
Avoid dry, cold weather. Climate can have a big effect on psoriasis. For many people, cold, dry weather makes symptoms worse. Hot weather usually makes it better, but not always.
Keep the Skin Moist: You can invest in a a hygrometer (humidity monitor) to check the humidity levels in your surrounding. Use a humidifier, if needed. It’s important to keep your skin moist. Turn on the humidifier when it’s dry.
Avoid medications that cause flare-ups. Let your doctor know about all the medications you take, even over-the-counter ones. Ask if they could affect your psoriasis. Drugs that are known to make things worse include: Lithium, used to treat psychiatric disorders, Propranolol and possibly other beta-blockers, which are prescribed for heart conditions, Quinidine (Cardioquin or Quinidex), medications for heart arrhythmias. If you’re using any of these medications, ask your doctor about substitutes.
Avoid scrapes, cuts, bumps, and infections. It’s extra important for people with psoriasis to avoid bumps and cuts. Trauma to the skin can cause a flare, a condition called “Koebner’s phenomenon.” Infections can also cause problems. Be especially careful when shaving. When performing any activity that may cause skin injury, be sure to take extra precautions like wearing long sleeves, gloves, and using bug spray. Avoid acupuncture, tattoos, and do your best to prevent insect bites and chafing.
Early morning Sun is good, but not too much. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight slow the growth of skin cells, so getting moderate doses of sun is good. But make it brief — about 20 minutes or so at a time. Use sunscreen. Sunburn can trigger psoriasis, and it raises your risk ofskin cancer. Some medications can make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet rays, so talk to your doctor first.
Handle stress. Deep breathing, Meditation, Tai chi and Yoga can help you manage stress. Scientists don’t know exactly why stress triggers psoriasis but believe it has to do with the immune system. Dr. John Koo, professor of clinical dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, said inflammation is the body’s way to cope with stress. Just as your immune system responds to injury and infection by sending out chemicals that cause inflammation, Koo suspects the immune system responds the same way to mental stress. In people with overactive immune systems, like in psoriasis, this can cause problems.
Minimize intake of alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol has a negative effect on clinical response to treatment and on the likelihood of remission. In addition, it should be noted that alcohol can have dangerous side effects when combined with certain psoriasis medications, such as methotrexate or acitretin (brand name Soriatane) in women of child-bearing potential.
Exercise, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight. Avoid junk foods which tends to be high in saturated and trans fats and refined starches and sugars, all of which can promote inflammation. Another reason to avoid junk foods is that that they are high in calories with possess little nutritional value, and people with psoriasis often have weight problems. If you have psoriasis, you have an increased risk of heart and vascular diseases, and being overweight adds to that risk. Experts recommend that people with the condition should eat a well-balanced diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables. Some people say their symptoms improve when they remove dairy or gluten. Exercise may also help. Stay at a healthy weight.
Do not pick on scales as it can cause psoriasis to flare. Picking also can cause hair loss.