- Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that can affect your day-to-day life.
- There is no cure for psoriasis.
- If you have psoriasis, knowing what triggers your condition can help you manage your condition.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that can get in the way of your daily life. It’s important to know what factors cause the condition to worsen so you can manage flare-ups. It’s also crucial to identify what happens underneath your skin to manage your symptoms better.
Triggers for Psoriasis Flare-Ups
The severity of psoriasis symptoms varies per individual. While psoriasis flare-ups can occur at random, it can also result from specific triggers, including the following:
- Cold and dry weather
- Skin trauma like cuts, scrapes, bug bites, or a severe sunburn.
- Certain medications including beta-blockers, lithium, and anti-malarial drugs
- Excess weight
- Infections such as Streptococcal infection and HIV
Tips for Managing Psoriasis Flare-Ups
There is no cure for psoriasis. However, a few essential steps can help you keep your symptoms under control. Here are some of them:
Melanie A. Warycha, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at CareMount Medical in New York, says that everyone who has psoriasis should keep themselves informed about the causes, triggers, disease course, and treatments of their condition. The National Psoriasis Foundation and The American Academy of Dermatology offer resources that might be helpful for them.
Keep skin well-hydrated
According to Warycha, applying thick cream or emollient, such as petroleum jelly, helps keep the skin barrier intact, preventing skin trauma. Warycha says this is crucial because skin injury, including cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and even tattoos, may cause the formation of a new plaque of psoriasis in body parts where you don’t usually get lesions.
Use a humidifier
Using a humidifier will give your skin the extra moisture it needs, especially during the cold and dry months.
Get a little sun
According to the Mayo Clinic, the UV rays can slow cell turnover in the skin, reducing scaling and inflammation, which results in reduced severity of psoriasis symptoms.
A word of caution, though: Keep your sun exposure brief to avoid sunburn, which can worsen psoriasis.
Maintain a healthy weight
Warycha says maintaining a healthy weight reduces inflammation levels in the body, which helps manage psoriasis. It is also essential to be physically active to help you achieve or maintain an ideal weight. Consult with your doctor if you’re having a hard time keeping a healthy weight.
Limit alcohol consumption
The Mayo Clinic warns that alcohol consumption may interfere with the effectiveness of your medication. Make sure to ask your doctor or a medical professional about the safe amount of alcohol you can take if you’re taking medications for psoriasis.
Manage your stress
Reducing your stress levels may make help you manage existing flare-ups. You can manage your stress levels by doing stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, tai chi, breathing exercises, and physical activity.
Psoriasis has no cure, but managing your symptoms is possible by being proactive, avoiding triggers, and consulting with your doctor for a personalized treatment plan.