Psoriasis is a skin disorder that results due to the malfunctioning of one’s immune system. It is an embarrassing skin disease, much like that uninvited guest who’s annoying, stubborn and frustrating. People, who suffer from this problem, often get very conscious when it concerns about their appearance as it appears in the form of red, inflamed, scaly, dry patches. Psoriasis is not infectious but is certainly a chronic disorder. The factors that are accountable for it are genetic, hormonal, environmental, and stress.
While there is no sure shot magical formula that will help you keep this disease at bay, there are certain things you can do that will prevent the flare-ups and improve the damaged skin.
1. Everyday Bathing
Take bath daily. Take a shower, go for a swim, soak in a tub or apply a wet compressor. It helps to rehydrate and calm down the inflamed skin, and also in the removal of scales (since scaling is a barrier to medications, it is essential to remove it as gently as possible). Besides that, regular bathing lessens the redness and itching of lesions. You can add Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, bath oil or colloidal oatmeal to your tub of water and soak in for approximately 15 minutes. Harsh soaps and hot water can worsen the situation, so avoid using them. Mild soaps with added fats, oils and lukewarm water are a safe bet.
2. Moisturize Your Skin
Because dry skin can be troublesome, for example, it can bleed, crack and get infected, it is essential to prevent it from drying out. Moisturizing lessens inflammation, maintains the skin flexibility as dried plaques make the movement difficult, prevents worsening of psoriasis and reduces the visibility of plaque scales. In order to lock water in your skin, use the heaviest and greasiest of moisturizers. Lactic acid, petrolatum, lard, and cooking oils are a few effective ingredients. Applying a moisturizer post shower helps the body to retain its natural oils. Oils have a greater staying power when compared to most lotions and creams, and therefore, prevents the water from evaporation. When it’s cold, remember to apply the moisturizer a few times in a day.
3. Use a Humidifier
The dry indoor air leads to a dry skin, thereby being a problem to psoriasis sufferers. In order to increase the level of humidity in the room, make use of a humidifier.
4. Medication Should Be Taken on Time and with Care
A few medications such as beta blockers, antimalarials, lithium, etc. tend to worsen the problem in some patients. Therefore, before you embark upon a treatment, make sure you have briefed your doctor about your condition. If you find that a certain medication is aggravating your state, ask your doctor for an alternative medicine or the reduced dosage. You can try an ointment or cream that contains salicylic acid or hydrocortisone as it reduces scaling and itching.
5. A Little Exposure to Sunlight
A controlled exposure to sunlight significantly improves your lesions. However, keep in mind that if your skin is exposed to a good deal of sun, it can worsen or trigger the outbreaks and even raise the possibility of skin cancer. If you like to sunbathe, you can opt for short sessions about 3 to 4 times per week. To prevent overexposure, maintain a record of the times when you have been out in the sun, and also for how long. Protect your healthy skin by using a sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 15 and apply it generously. If you are swimming, sunbathing or perspiring, give yourself a re-application after 2 hours.
6. Be Careful When Choosing Soaps
There are a lot of harsh soaps available on store shelves that are very much capable of causing irritation and dryness to the skin. Therefore, one must be careful while choosing soap and should pick a mild soap containing moisturizers. One can also go for a soap free cleanser, another widely available variety. If you are confused and do not know which product to opt for, consult your doctor or pharmacist for the same. Remember to rinse off the soap well and apply a moisturizer or lotion immediately, in order to avoid drying and itching.
7. Exercise Caution When Using Skin Products
Psoriasis sufferers need to be extra guarded when using skin substances as their skin is unusually vulnerable to infections. Products like perms, straighteners or hair dyes are potential irritants and should be used only when you have a relatively lesion free skin. In case your wounds are opened, avoid their use altogether.
8. Psoriasis Triggers Should Be Avoided
An important step towards achieving a relative cure for psoriasis would be to find out the elements and situations that trigger it. Such elements very often worsen your condition, making the disorder even more problematic for you. A few potential threats would be skin injuries, intense sunburn, smoking, infections, etc.
9. Eat Healthy, Live Better
It is always important to follow a healthy diet for a healthy life. Though there is no proof whether some foods aggravate or improve psoriasis, it is essential to eat healthy food. Include vegetables and whole grains in your daily diet, and if you are a non vegetarian, focus on fish and lean cuts. If you notice that some food items are worsening your condition, keep away from them. You can also maintain a diary for a better memory.
10. Avoid Alcohol and Watch Your Weight
Alcohol consumption can hamper the effectiveness of a few medications and treatments. So it is best advised to keep away from alcohol. Also, overweight people find it harder to keep psoriasis under control and are more uncomfortable. One more important thing to remember in mind is that you should be quick with treating infections as they can cause troublesome flare ups.
The above listed advice will benefit to most psoriasis sufferers. However, this, in no way means that you discontinue your current medication (prescribed by a doctor).