Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition that causes formation scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful. A slew of powerful medications can help control psoriasis, but your best bet against the condition may be a few simple lifestyle changes. Here’s how to take control over your psoriasis by making smart choices in your daily life:
- Staying in shape:Obesity increases the risk of psoriasis and losing weight helps improve psoriasis symptoms. Being overweight may also make your psoriasis more severe and may speed progression to psoriatic arthritis and reduce the effectiveness of medications. Losing weight can make your condition easier to handleand reduce risk for heart diseases.
- Changing your diet: Certain foods can make your skin to react, while other can help it calm down. As a general rule, try to trim acidic triggers from your diet, like caffeine, sugar, white flour, red meat, etc., as they can promote inflammation. Stick to anti-inflammatory foods to help skin irritation. Spinach, pineapple, walnuts, and sweet potatoes are some top picks. Probiotics help immensely as well. Also, remember to keep yourself hydrated, as dehydration can worsen symptoms.
- Avoid harsh soaps: Deodorant soaps as well as scrubs can worsen psoriasis. Also avoid products that contain chemicals, fragrances and dyes. Instead, some widely available natural bath products can actually help.
- Be mindful of the weather:The symptoms of psoriasis often develop or become worse due to the weather. The triggers vary from person to person, but common psoriasis is triggered due to excessive exposure to sunlight and cold temperatures. Wear a hat, loose fitting clothes and use sunscreen when spending time outside in summer and use a moisturizer in winter to prevent scales, soothe dry skin and ease itching.
- Stress management: There is a clear link between psoriasis and stress, with up to 78% of people with psoriasis believing stress aggravates their condition. It can be a vicious circle with psoriasis outbreak adding to your stress levels. Skin conditions like psoriasis take an obvious physical toll on a person, but the mental effects can be just as harsh. Long walks and physical exercise are good ways to ease stress. A massage or spa treatment to moisturize your skin, reduce stress and muscle tension all in one go may help reduce outbreaks too.
- Practicing good hygiene: Infections are known to trigger psoriasis because they put stress on the immune system, causing an inflammatory reaction. Strep throat in particular is associated with the onset of psoriasis symptoms, especially in children. However, psoriasis flare-ups may occur after an earache, tonsillitis, or a respiratory or skin infection. Make sure to wash your hands often throughout the day. It is also important to clean a cut or wound properly and to keep it covered so it doesn’t get infected.
- Limit your intake ofalcohol and smoking:Smoking tobacco not only increases your risk of psoriasis but also may increase the severity of the disease. Smoking may also play a role in the initial development of the disease.Monitor how much alcohol you drink. Too much can make your psoriasis worse, especially if you’re a man.
If you are still finding it hard to handle to keep your psoriasis in check, reach out to the experts:
- Your primary care doctor can recommend topical treatments
- Your dermatologist can recommend topical treatments as well as prescribe oral medications, injected medications, or light therapy
- Your nutritionist can help you identify foods in your diet that are affecting your psoriasis symptoms
Dr. Sachin Verma