If you’ve recently been diagnosed with psoriasis, you’re looking for answers. That unsightly cracked, inflamed skin on your chest, arms, and shoulders or elsewhere on your body doesn’t go well with scoop neck tops or short sleeve shirts.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition, but you can keep it under control by following common sense guidelines and scheduling regular visits with the dermatologist. Following are six tips to help you manage your psoriasis.
Moisturizing is a first line of defense. Try several different moisturizers, and select the one that feels best on your skin. Keeping your skin moisturized helps calm psoriasis symptoms.
Always apply ointments, creams, or lotions after your bath or shower to lock in the moisture.
You may decide that an ointment works best at night, when you can put a soft cloth over areas where you apply the ointment to keep the sheets from getting sticky. Lotions disappear much more quickly, and they’re absorbed fast, so you might apply a lotion right before going into a meeting. Keep moisturizing throughout the day, as needed. Make sure your moisturizer doesn’t include fragrances; you may be allergic to them.
Take a soothing bath
With psoriasis, you may find your daily routine changing. In addition to taking a cool shower to start your day, you may want to run a lukewarm bath at night. Try adding oil or Epsom salt, and use a gentle soap to calm red, inflamed skin. Make it a special time of day when you can really relax: Put on some music, light a candle, and sip a glass of wine.
Be prepared before flying
We’re a mobile society. If you fly for business or for vacation, you know there are strict regulations on the amount of liquids or gels in tubes. Your creams may be too large to fit in a quart-size plastic bag, and you may need to use the cream during your flight. Carry a doctor’s letter with you along with a copy of the prescription to show airport officers to ensure you’re comfortable when in the air.
Sunburns aren’t healthy for anyone, but they’re especially problematic if you have psoriasis. A sunburn can make psoriasis worse, and you could end up with new patches of dry skin on your body.
Attractive clothing that blocks the sun is available everywhere now--tunics, leggings, hats, and more. Take advantage of modern technology, and invest in sun protective clothing.
If you have darker skin, you should follow the same advice as for people with lighter skin; dark skin can get sunburned also, with the same consequences.
Stress can contribute to psoriasis and worsen your symptoms. Your first outbreak may have occurred during a stressful time in your life.
Research your options to relieve your stress. How can you build a support system to lessen your load? If you’re a busy mom, perhaps hiring a mother’s helper a few afternoons a week would help. Can you join a carpool to relieve yourself from some of the driving to and from sports activities with the kids?
If there’s a gym nearby, it likely offers yoga classes. Try deep breathing exercises. Carve out some time during each day just for you--even if it’s just 15 or 30 minutes. If you find yourself unable to relieve your stress, it’s time to talk to a professional and get help.
See the doctor if a new symptom occurs
It’s important to schedule and keep regular visits with your dermatologist. In addition, if a new symptom pops up, go ahead and make an appointment; don’t wait for the next scheduled visit, which could be a few months away. You could have developed a resistance to a current medication, or the condition could be entering a new phase. Whatever it is, early treatment is important, just as with any health condition.
If you suffer from psoriasis, call or book an appointment online with Dermatology of Boca. New biologic and laser treatments are effective and safe. Don’t wait another day to go from skin that’s cracked and dry to skin that’s smooth and silky.