Psoriasis is an autoimmune
disease that affects the skin, causing plaques, or raised patches of red, scaly
skin, to form. These plaques can be itchy, painful, and embarrassing for
patients. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available today that
can manage psoriasis and keep skin clear, although patients are still
susceptible to experiencing periodic flare-ups, or the temporary worsening of
symptoms. Every psoriasis patient is unique and may experience flare-up for
different reasons, but I have several general tips I share with my patients for
keeping their skin clear.
Some patients think that
since they’re doing well, they can stop taking their medications or other
treatments, and then they have intense flare-ups. Treatment cannot be stopped
cold turkey, because patients may have a rebound flare (a flare-up that’s even
worse than usual) if they stop their treatment suddenly. Stick with your
treatment plan to prevent flare-ups from happening.
1. Don’t go cold turkey. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fd6%2Ff6%2F3bcecd194b129560479e550f0229%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-getty-514772973.jpg
Most of my patients tend to flare in winter—their skin reacts to
the cold, dry air outside and the hot, dry air inside. So I tell patients to be
more careful in winter: they should moisturize their skin frequently—it’s best
if they do this right after they get out of the shower, while their skin is
still moist. I also tell them to use a humidifier as much as they can. I
recommend using both a central humidifier and individual humidifiers if
2. Keep your skin hydrated. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/6374x4264%2B0%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fb6%2Fc7%2F65083d9f4333ab3913e266b2c713%2Fimage-getty-517441781.jpg
We know that a large number
of patients flare with stress. I recommend that patients do
mindfulness meditation, exercise, yoga, or whatever falls within their belief
system that will help them relax and minimize stress.
Obesity is associated with psoriasis—patients with psoriasis tend
to be much heavier than the normal population. And being overweight or obese
can make psoriasis harder to manage. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you
avoid severe flare-ups. I recommend my patients lower their intake of carbohydrates
and refined sugars to decrease inflammation and promote weight loss.