Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that affects approximately 8 million women, men, and children in the United States. Marked by silver scales caused by a buildup of dead skin cells, psoriasis patches can be itchy, inflamed, and embarrassing.
Medications and light therapy help control psoriasis outbreaks. However, you can also manage your disease by identifying and then avoiding your personal triggers.
At The Center for Dermatology Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York, our expert dermatologists want you to have healthy, clear skin as often as possible. We offer cutting-edge treatments, including light therapy and systemic drugs, to help you manage psoriasis flares.
But you, too, can take steps to minimize the number and severity of flares by reducing or eliminating psoriasis triggers from your life. Here are four of the most common.
1. Excess stress
Stress is a normal and necessary part of life that forces us to grow, change, and adapt. But too much stress wears you down mentally and physically.
Psoriasis tends to worsen when you’re in a high-stress situation. Whether it’s your job, your relationships, or your kids, stressors burden your already overloaded system.
A variety of methods can help you manage stress and blow off steam to calm your nervous system. Try:
- Tai chi
- Deep breathing
- Support groups
- Gratitude journaling
- Journaling before bed
- Talking with friends
Self-care is never selfish, especially when you have a chronic disease like psoriasis. Find the methods that work for you.
2. Smoking and excess alcohol
If you’re drinking a glass of wine to calm down after a hard day, you might want to find a healthier way to de-stress. Alcohol is pro-inflammatory and may worsen your psoriasis.
In addition, alcohol interferes with many psoriasis medications that could otherwise keep you comfortable and flare-free. Even one drink a day could affect your skin.
Smoking, too, is bad for psoriasis. It dehydrates your skin, leaving it susceptible to flares.
3. Weather extremes
Cold, dry weather and hot, sunny days may negatively affect your skin. Cold air devoid of moisture dries your skin and may trigger a breakout.
Hot days carry a double whammy. Not only can a sunburn worsen your psoriasis, but the cold dryness of air-conditioned indoor air is also irritating.
During the summer, always wear sunscreen and protective clothing and limit your time in the sun. Apply moisturizer year-round. Use a humidifier if indoor air is too dry.
4. Tattoos, piercings, and injuries
Anytime you open up your skin — whether by accident or choice — your psoriasis can flare. Even a shaving nick can lead to a psoriasis flare about 10-14 days later.
Talk to your doctor if you’re interested in piercing your skin or getting a tattoo; you may want to consider an alternative. If you shave your skin, use moisturizer or shaving gel to reduce friction.
If you get a scrape, nick, or even a bug bite, treat it promptly. Avoid scratching. Use bug repellent when outdoors.
You may also have personal triggers that you can identify by keeping a psoriasis diary. Noting your symptoms on a day-to-day basis helps you control your disease and regulate your comfort.
Do you need help identifying your psoriasis triggers or controlling the disease with medications? Reach our helpful team by phone or online form today for psoriasis evaluation and treatment.