Caring for your psoriasis: Self-care tips
Treatment for psoriasis can mean applying creams and ointments, having a pill or injections, or even getting some UV phototherapy. Added to psoriasis treatments prescribed by the doctor, self-care strategies can further reduce psoriasis symptoms.
Tips for psoriasis self-care
Medicines for psoriasis are often invaluable in controlling symptoms. But there are plenty of natural ways to treat psoriasis, too.
Keep skin moisturised
Using a moisturiser is an important part of self-care for psoriasis. Dry skin makes irritation and itchiness caused by psoriasis worse than it needs to be. A vicious cycle can result: dry skin can cause itching and scratching, leading to new psoriasis patches developing on the irritated skin.
The best way to keep skin moisturised? Apply thick ointments like emollients or heavy skin creams everywhere you can reach. Pat yourself dry and put on cream or ointment immediately after getting out of the shower.
Bathe, but beware
Bathing can be another important part of psoriasis self-care, yet frequent bathing can also dry out the skin, causing problems. A few tips for bathing with psoriasis:
- Avoid hot water, which can irritate skin. Use lukewarm water instead.
- Don’t towel off - pat yourself dry, then apply moisturiser.
- Pure water dries skin. Add bathing salts, oil or oatmeal to bathwater to make it more skin-friendly.
Stick to the plan
It can be messy and inconvenient to slather thick lotion onto psoriasis patches, day after day. But consistency is the key. If you’ve been prescribed topical therapy, making it part of your routine can improve results. Also, topical therapies avoid the potential side-effects of tablets or injection treatments for psoriasis.
You can add psoriasis to the long list of health conditions made worse by smoking. In one study, people who smoked more than a pack a day were twice as likely to have severe psoriasis as those who smoked half a pack or less. Smoking’s negative effect was even stronger in women with psoriasis.
Experts agree that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to care for your psoriasis. Don’t forget that stopping smoking also reduces your risk of heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and a host of other health conditions.
Drink moderately, or not at all
Psoriasis is more common in people who drink alcohol heavily. Psoriasis in men may be affected more by drinking than in women. Drinking less may or may not improve psoriasis, but it will improve overall health. Current guidelines suggest no more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day for men, and no more than two to three units of alcohol a day for women.
Consider dietary changes
In general, there is no solid evidence for any food making psoriasis better or worse. At the same time, many people with psoriasis have claimed improvement after cutting down on certain foods, including sugar, white flour, gluten, and caffeine. There is an association between obesity and psoriasis, and many dermatologists feel that achieving you ideal weight can improve psoriasis.