Typically, when we feel under the weather, we attempt to either ignore or manage our symptoms until our ailments gradually disappear. Yet, when the discomfort we’re experiencing is related to our skin, it can become much tougher to turn a blind eye to them.
Depending on the severity, skin conditions like eczema and others can cause various effects on our bodies, especially if it’s a long-term condition like psoriasis. With around 1.1 million people in the UK suffering from the chronic skin condition of psoriasis, it’s crucial that you follow the advice of your healthcare provider so that you can manage and keep your psoriasis under control.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do on your own to help control your psoriasis and reduce the risk of flare-ups. From prescribed medications, making other lifestyle or health changes and avoiding triggers – we list several of our top tips for preventing psoriasis flare-ups below.
Look After Your Skin And Scalp
One of the best ways to minimise psoriasis flare-ups is by looking after your skin and scalp. Since psoriasis can appear anywhere on your body, some of the most problematic areas to treat are the scalp, face, nails, soles of the feet, genitals, and the palms of your hands. It’s crucial to pay equal attention to every part of your body regarding skincare.
Ensure that you use a mixture of thick, oily, moisturising lotions or creams like petroleum jelly to keep moisture trapped underneath your skin, as flare-ups are more likely to appear when your skin is dry. Additionally, if you have psoriasis on your scalp, topical massage treatments – like tar shampoos – into your scalp and have regular baths with tar solutions, too, for further relief.
Before using any skincare product, ensure that you seek advice from medical professionals and use information leaflets to see whether they would recommend the product you intend to use or not. The last thing you want to do is cause your symptoms to flare up even more when they could have easily been prevented by discussing the use of a new product beforehand with your doctor.
Avoid Cold, Dry Weather
Climate can significantly affect psoriasis; generally, it is more challenging to manage in the winter but easier to control in the summertime. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can combat the drying effects of winter and central heating; some of the most popular ways to keep psoriasis at bay are as follows:
- Wear soft, non-irritable layers that are easy to remove if you get too warm, as sweat can cause your symptoms to worsen.
- Use thick creams, lotions, or ointments to seal moisture under your skin and prevent the appearance of dry, flaky patches.
- Instead of showering, opt to have a long, relaxing soak in the tub, accompanied by soothing treatments such as Epsom salts, dead sea salts, oils, or finely ground oatmeal.
- Use a humidifier to keep indoor air moist and combat the drying effects of central heating.
- Follow the 8×8 rule regarding water consumption to keep yourself hydrated and your bodily water levels high.
- Try and maintain a positive mood; negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression can cause your psoriasis symptoms to worsen.
- Speak to your doctor about improving your treatment plan if you have any other concerns about managing your psoriasis during the winter.
Avoid Medications That Trigger Flare-Ups
Everyone with psoriasis will have a different treatment plan, and since we’re all different, what may work for one individual may not work for another. However, some medications are known for worsening psoriasis symptoms, like lithium, propranolol, and quinidine – so ensure that you disclose your complete medication history to your doctor, even over-the-counter ones.
Suppose you are using any of the above medications. In that case, your doctor should be able to recommend an alternative to continue to receive the benefits of the drug without the risk of irritating your psoriasis. Understanding these medications and others is beneficial to avoid them and minimise flare-ups actively.
Try To Avoid Personal Injury
Although it may sound easier said than done (especially if you’re a clumsy person!), if you can, you should try and avoid any personal injuries like cuts, scrapes, bumps, and infections. Any damage to the skin can cause a condition known as ‘Koebner’s phenomenon’, which happens when trauma to the skin causes flare-ups and can cause other problems such as infections.
As well as trying to minimise injuries in your personal and professional life, it would help if you also were wary of lifestyle choices and other problems such as getting tattoos or piercings, getting an acupuncture treatment, preventing insect bites, exercising caution when shaving, and doing your best to minimise chafing.
Being extra cautious around all the above can help minimise any trauma to your skin and help to prevent flare-ups. We understand that accidents can happen no matter how careful you are, so don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor in-depth if you have any further concerns.