Skin conditions can be brutal—after all, if you remember the lesson that probably blew your mind in your elementary school biology class, your skin is your body’s biggest organ. So if you suffer from psoriasis, you’re likely no stranger to the serious discomfort that comes with flare-ups.
The chronic condition is thought to be rooted in an immune system issue that causes skin to regenerate more quickly than it should, which most commonly results in instances of dry, flaky, scaly patches on the skin. (Other symptoms of psoriasis include itchiness and soreness of those patches, as well as abnormal nail growth and/or discoloration and, in some cases of psoriatic arthritis, painful joints.)
And while there’s no cure for the condition, how you live, how you eat, and how you take care of your skin can make a big difference when it comes to how bad your symptoms are. Here are some easy and achievable grooming and wellness routine tweaks and tips that can help relieve symptoms of psoriasis.
Use lotion regularly.
It may seem obvious, but keeping your skin hydrated is square one when it comes to fending off flaking and incessant itching. It won’t serve as a cure-all, but it will certainly go far, especially when things like global pandemics make you wash your hands one hundred times a day. There are even OTC lotions developed specifically to help rebuild the protective barrier of your skin, like CeraVe’s Psoriasis Moisturizing Cream, which has earned the National Psoriasis Foundation’s Seal of Recognition.
Go for a sensitive skin facial cleanser.
Because psoriasis causes inflammation, which translates, functionally, to your skin feeling very dry, washing your face with a formula that’s designed to be gentle is important. Brands like Cetaphil are known to be effective without drying out skin too much; if you’re a purist, Vanicream’s Gentle Facial Cleanser is free of a whole list of chemicals and additives, reducing the chance that your skin will react poorly.
Shampoo with products containing salicylic acid or tar.
It’s not uncommon for psoriasis to affect the scalp just as much as any other part of the body, so it’s important to treat your head with the same care you would the rest of your skin. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it’s all about the right ingredients: Coal tar helps decrease skin cell growth (which should result in fewer dead skin cells) while salicylic acid removes scales by softening and “peeling” them. With a loyal following—people swear by it—Neutrogena’s T/Gel Theraputic Shampoo is a great place to start.
Try Dead Sea salt in the bath.
While scientists are just beginning to understand its full effect on psoriasis patients, there is some evidence to indicate exposure to salt and minerals like those found in the Dead Sea can help improve your skin quality, according to a study published in Frontiers in Medicine. The study concluded that psoriasis patients that participated in “Dead Sea Climatotherapy,” by way of prolonged Dead Sea baths and lots of exposure to sunlight, experienced an improvement in symptoms—so while pouring some dead sea salts into your nightly soak may not have quite the same impact, it’s certainly worth a shot.
Keep both your mind and body in good shape.
Exercising your body and keeping your mind calm are both proven to be associated with lower psoriasis flare-up risk. One study published in Archives of Dermatology found a link between regular exercise and fewer incidences of psoriasis in a population of more than 86,000 nurses. Similarly, another study found that using mindfulness meditation tapes in addition to other therapies helped improve symptoms more than the other therapies alone.
Watch what you eat (and drink).
Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the inflammation that causes psoriasis symptoms—so it’s no surprise that limiting alcohol intake can also help keep flare-ups at bay.
Another trigger for some psoriasis patients? Good old gluten. While it’s not true for everyone with the condition, those who are sensitive to gluten are likely to develop more inflammation when they eat things like wheat bread, so it’s wise to decrease your consumption of it (or cut it out entirely) to help manage symptoms. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist or primary care doctor if you’re unsure if this applies to you.
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Source : Esquire