More than 8 million Americans have psoriasis, a chronic skin disease when the body’s immune system causes skin cells to grow more rapidly. These “extra” skin cells bind together to form lumpy, scaly plaques that can itch, crack, and bleed.
While there’s no cure for psoriasis, there are treatments that can help. Learning to manage psoriasis and live with its symptoms is also crucial to feeling better and reducing flare-ups.
At Southwest Michigan Dermatology, our team offers advanced psoriasis treatment options to help patients in Portage, Michigan, manage symptoms and enjoy healthier skin. Here’s what you can do to keep your psoriasis under control.
Your skin requires plenty of moisture to stay soft and supple and effectively defend against germs. While regular application of moisturizer is a good idea for everyone, it’s vital for people with psoriasis since their skin needs that added support.
To get the most from your moisturizer, pick one that’s designed for sensitive skin and apply it before bed and after your shower (or any contact with water). If you’re unsure which moisturizer to pick, ask our team for recommendations.
Regular use of sunscreen is another tip that’s beneficial for everyone, especially people with psoriasis. Even a mild sunburn or overexposure to the sun can irritate your skin and trigger psoriasis flare-ups. The American Academy of Dermatology notes that sun exposure can even cause psoriasis to spread to other areas of your body.
Use sunscreen regularly, and wear protective clothing, like lightweight pants or jackets, along with a hat to keep the sun from your scalp and neck. Apply at least an ounce of sunscreen to cover your body, and try to stay out of direct sun, especially during the midday hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Psoriasis symptoms tend to worsen when you’re exposed to certain triggers. Triggers can vary from person to person, but some of the most common ones include stress, cold temperatures, and dry air.
Even something as simple as a bug bite can cause a psoriasis flare-up. Keeping a journal helps you track your psoriasis symptoms and identify the triggers that affect your skin.
Skin injuries can cause psoriasis to flare up, too. Some injuries can even cause new psoriasis to form.
Be extra careful when doing anything that could cause a skin injury, including scratches, blisters, bug bites, or burns. Take care when shaving to avoid tiny nicks that trigger extra immune activity.
Scratching might feel suitable for that moment, but you might notice your symptoms are worse afterward. Plus, scratching skin affected by psoriasis can lead to tiny cuts and scrapes, injuries that increase the risk of flare-ups.
Using moisturizers regularly, avoiding prolonged exposure to water and sun, and using medications as prescribed can help keep itching under control. If you develop an itch that won’t subside, try applying an ice pack for 10-15 minutes.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition requiring lifelong management. Our team is here to provide the therapies you need to ensure your treatment plan stays on track.
Every treatment plan is created individually, based on each person’s unique and evolving needs. Depending on your symptoms and other factors, we may recommend lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, as well as topical or oral medications to control symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Psoriasis symptoms and triggers often change over time, so having regular dermatology visits is essential for your health and comfort. To learn how we can help you manage your psoriasis symptoms, call 269-321-7546 or request an appointment online at Southwest Michigan Dermatology today.