As part of our focus on psoriasis this month, it’s important to delve into some level of prevention. While you can’t control whether or not you inherent the genes which cause the genetic disease, there are steps you can take to avoid the triggers which cause symptoms. Of the 10 percent of people who inherit the genes associated with psoriasis, only 2 to 3 percent of those people actually develop the disease. However, it is a combination of inherited genes and triggers which cause uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, flare-ups.
What Causes Psoriasis Flare-Ups?
One thing to understand about psoriasis is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to care. Every person is different and there are different types of psoriasis, which require singular care. A board-certified dermatologist at The Derm Group can create a plan to work specifically with your skin type and psoriasis symptoms. In addition to following your derm’s direction, there are some tips you can follow to avoid psoriasis flare-ups at home.
Follow these tips for fewer psoriasis flare-ups:
1. Stay Warm: This is easier to do in the summer months. By avoiding cold, dry weather and air you can steer clear of uncomfortable psoriasis flare-ups.
2. Turn on a Humidifier: Just as it is important to stay away from the cold, it is equally important to keep your skin hydrated. Use a humidifier if your home is dry.
3. Always Moisturize: By applying lotion regularly—especially thick ones like petroleum jelly—you can help keep moisture beneath the skin and avoid exacerbating the symptoms that come from dryness.
4. Know Your Medications: Some medications, even over-the-counter-ones, can cause psoriasis flare-ups. These including quinidine, propranolol and other beta-blockers, and lithium. Make sure to ask your dermatologist about any medications you are taking. He/she may recommend a substitute.
5. Be Stress-Free: This may not be the easiest one to commit to, but stress and anxiety have been linked to psoriasis flare-ups. Do your best to make any lifestyle changes necessary to breathe easy.
6. Moderate Your Sun Exposure: Believe it or not, some sun exposure can be helpful to psoriasis. UV rays actually slow the growth of skin cells, which is good news for psoriasis sufferers. However, everything should be done in moderation, especially when it comes to too much sun exposure. Sunburn is a trigger for flare-ups and, as we know, causes skin cancer. So, keep it brief.
7. No Scrapes Please; If you have psoriasis, you definitely don’t want cuts, scratches, bumps, or skin trauma, which causes “Koebner’s phenomenon.” For those which suffer from this rare reaction—only 1 out of every 4—people, a simple scratch can cause a new patch of psoriasis in a new location. All psoriasis sufferers should avoid tattoos, insect bites, shaving scrapes, and even acupuncture.
It’s time for a lifestyle change. Schedule an appointment at The Derm Group online or by calling 973.571.2121.