10 ways to prevent flare-ups of psoriasis
Knowing what things trigger your psoriasis, and then trying to avoid them, is one way of helping to control and prevent flare-ups of psoriasis.
Remember to seek medical advice if you have concerns about psoriasis, as well as considering these 10 tips:
Use moisturising lotions.
Psoriasis symptoms get worse when your skin is dry, so keep it moist with creams and lotions. Thick and oily moisturisers are often best, since they're good at trapping moisture beneath the skin. Moisturisers are also useful for removing scales, especially if you use occlusion - applying moisturiser and then wrapping the area with specialist tape or cling film. This should never be done with steroid preparations without consulting your doctor or skin specialist.
Take care of your skin and scalp.
People with psoriasis should always be careful with their skin. Never pick at lesions or scales, since that can just make your psoriasis worse. Trimming your nails regularly can be a good way to prevent scratching and causing a psoriasis flare-up. But, do it carefully, since any cut might cause symptoms to get worse. If you have psoriasis on your scalp, follow your doctor's suggestions. Make sure that any topical treatments - such as tar shampoos - get on your scalp and not just your hair. Also, regular bathing with soothing products, such as tar solutions, may help. With any coal tar preparations it is very important to follow the instructions as there are differing concentrations, multiple products, and there are specific ways of applying them.
Avoid dry, cold weather.
Climate can have a big effect on psoriasis. For a lot of people, cold and dry weather can make the symptoms of psoriasis worse. In general, hot weather is better for people with psoriasis, although some have worsening symptoms when the heat and humidity rise.
Use a humidifier.
Some people find keeping skin moist is important, so use a humidifier during dry seasons of the year.
Medications that may cause flare-ups.
Tell your doctor all the medications you take, and ask if any could affect your psoriasis. Drugs that are known to make psoriasis worse in some people include:
- Lithium, used to treat mental health disorders, may aggravate psoriasis in some cases
- Propranolol and possibly other beta-blockers, which are prescribed for heart conditions
- Sudden withdrawal from topical or oral steroids can sometimes exacerbate a flare up
- Antimalarial drugs have been reported to aggravate a flare-up
- Indomethacin, drug prescribed for arthritis
If you're using any of these medications, ask your doctor about alternatives.
Avoid scrapes, cuts, bumps and infections.
Obviously, most people don't try to hurt themselves intentionally. But it's very important for people with psoriasis to avoid bumps and cuts. Trauma to the skin can cause a flare-up of psoriasis at the site of the injury, a condition called ‘Koebner's phenomenon’. Infections can also cause psoriasis to appear. Be especially careful when shaving. Avoid insect bites, chafing, acupuncture, and tattoos.