Psoriasis is a condition that causes cells to multiply leading to red or white patches on the skin. It can be quite a painful trial for many a condition not only comes with physical discomfort but also a lot of mental anxiety about one’s appearance. Psoriasis outbreaks, if left unattended, can cause scarring. However, the condition is very much manageable if we choose to make some simple changes in our lifestyles. Here’s a list of easy and simple lifestyle changes and hacks that you can adopt to care for your skin.
Handling one’s stress is one of the most indispensable lifestyle changes for any disorder or condition. Research suggests that stress and psoriasis outbreaks go hand in hand. Some key measures you can take toward a stress-free or even low-stress lifestyle is to try meditation and yoga. Ensure that your stress-relieving methods do not end up aggravating the situation - stay away from alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol, specifically, can have some unwanted adverse reactions to psoriasis drugs. Often, psoriasis might have a negative impact on your self-esteem; consider therapy if you require so.
One major recommendation for dealing with psoriasis is to avoid cold and dry weather. In fact, some experts suggest using a humidifier to keep the skin moist. Maintaining moisture goes a long way in preventing an outbreak. However, it is highly important to choose the right moisturizer and maintain a continuous regime to ensure effectiveness.
Often, in an effort to ensure skin hydration, people skip cleansing. Ensure that you always wash up to remove all the flaky skin. Make sure that you use only mild and safe products on your skin; avoid chemicals at all costs. Some DIY strategies are to use products like oatmeal or Epsom salts for effective moisturizing. You could also use medicated creams after a prescription from your doctor to ensure better results. Moisturize for at least 10 minutes for the essential hydration and oils to sink in.
Some experts also suggest using scalp oil such as coconut and olive oil on your scalp as well as areas around your scalp. This helps reduce itchiness and burning and also keeps the skin moist.
With psoriasis, there are some trigger foods and good foods. ‘Trigger’ foods are those that cause the immune system to flare up. Red meats, especially beef, and all egg products have been shown to cause psoriasis lesions. Another food category to avoid is gluten; reduce or stop the intake of wheat and its derivatives including pasta, noodles, and certain sauces. All processed foods, especially canned goods with higher amounts of salt and sugar can also cause inflammation.
What to eat then? Consume fruits and vegetables as they contain antioxidantsthat can decrease inflammation. Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, leafy greens, and fruits like berries and grapes help to prevent outbreaks.
You might come across tips that suggest you stay away from the sun, DO NOT DO THAT! UV or UltraViolet Rays from the sun have immunosuppressive effects; they help mitigate the symptoms of autoimmune conditions like psoriasis. A study by the NCBI states that “Sun exposure induces rapid immunological changes in skin and peripheral blood in patients with psoriasis”. In fact, UV treatment is highly recommended for patients with psoriasis. Hence, get some mild and short exposure to natural sunlight as this can go a long way in reducing flaking and other symptoms. Alternatively, you can also talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplements.
However extended exposure to sunlight can cause sunburn, which actually triggers psoriasis flares. Ensure that you expose yourself to a mild and healthy amount of sunlight, and wear protective gear or sunscreen during the hottest parts of the day.
While the list suggests what can be done to keep your psoriasis flares in check, it is also recommended to be very careful with your skin. Ensure that you perform all tasks with the utmost care. Keoner Phenomenon is the appearance of skin lesions in areas of injury which do not appear otherwise. Hence, injuries can actually be the inception site of painful psoriasis lesions and flares.
Exercising enough caution in everyday tasks like preparing food, cutting your nails, gardening, and protecting against insect bites can reduce the probability of flares. Avoid tattoos and piercings and also refrain from adventure sports or other potentially harmful activities.
While psoriasis might be a long-term autoimmune condition, there are multiple tiny steps you can take to maintain control over the situation. Understanding the triggers and causes can help you manage and even avoid the symptoms to lead a comfortable life.