Avoid Medications That Cause Flare
Let your doctor know about all the medications you take, even over-the-counter ones. Ask if they could affect your psoriasis. Drugs that are known to make things worse include:
- Lithium, used to treat psychiatric disorders
- Propranololand possibly other beta-blockers, which are prescribed for heart conditions
- Quinidine, medication for irregular heart beat
If you’re using any of these medications, ask your doctor about substitutes. Know about these and other drugs that can trigger psoriasis flares.
There Are Ways To Shorten Flare
Psoriasis is a big star on TV drug ads, but this autoimmune skin disease is something most people try to keep well hidden.
“Psoriasis is among the most common skin conditions, affecting about 2% of the U.S. population, and while the condition doesn’t affect everyone the same way, the approach to treatment and prevention is often similar,” says Dr. Gideon Smith, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Q: What About Prescription Treatments
It really depends on the patient and how severe their condition is, which is why personalization is so key.
For some people with eczema, over-the-counter products may be sufficient. But many people with even mild eczema, which affects less than 10% of the body, typically need to use a prescription topical corticosteroid or topical calcineurin inhibitorâboth of which work to reduce inflammationâon occasion.
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Drinking Frequently Or In Excess
If you drink daily or have more than 2 drinks in a day frequently, your treatment for psoriasis may have little or no effect. Even treatment that could be effective for you may not work and youll continue to have flare-ups.
Reduce the risk of flare-ups from drinking
If you continue to drink, limit how much you drink in a day. Women should stop after 1 drink. Men should limit themselves to 2 drinks per day.
Be sure to tell your dermatologist if you drink alcohol. Drinking can make it risky to take some psoriasis medications like methotrexate.
Drinking frequently or in excess
If you drink daily or have more than 2 drinks in a day frequently, your treatment for psoriasis may have little or no effect.
Exercise Eat Right And Maintain A Healthy Weight
Although no studies have shown a link between diet and psoriasis, experts recommend that people with the condition eat a well-balanced diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables. Some people say their symptoms improve when they remove dairy or gluten. Exercise may also help. Some studies show excess weight can trigger flares, so stay at a healthy weight.
Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate director of dermatopharmacology, Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine co-director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center consultant for Amgen, Biogen, Genentech, Fujisawa, and 3-M.
Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director of the Clinical Research Center, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City associate clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons consultant for Amgen and Genentech.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What Is Psoriasis?”
American Academy of Dermatology: “Psoriasis.”
National Psoriasis Foundation: “Psoriasis,” “How Cigarettes and Alcohol Affect Psoriasis” and “Weight loss greatly improved psoriasis.”
Abel, E. “Dermatology III: Psoriaisis ACP Medicine, April, 2005.
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Keep Your Skin Moist And Cool
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, moisturizing your skin with heavy, fragrance-free creams or lotions helps lock in moisture so that your plaques can heal. Moisturizing every day also helps keep your skin healthy between flare-ups.
You can use body creams, facial creams, or high-quality oils, such as coconut oil, to moisturize your skin and lock in water. Other tips include:
- Take cool to lukewarm showers of no more than 10 minutes.
- Limit lukewarm baths to 15 minutes.
- Add Epsom salts, sea salts, oatmeal poultices, or essential oils to bath water.
- Pat dry but not too dry after bathing, and apply moisturizer immediately.
- Moisturize your hands after every time you wash them.
- Use gentle, moisturizing, fragrance-free cleansers on face and body.
- Keep room air moist with a humidifier.
You can also refrigerate your cleansers and moisturizers for extra cooling relief.
Are Triggers Causing Your Psoriasis Flare
If your psoriasis seems to flare for no reason, one or more triggers could be to blame. Everyday things like stress, a bug bite, and cold temperatures can trigger psoriasis.
Triggers vary from person to person. By finding your triggers and learning how to manage them, you can gain better control of your psoriasis and have fewer flares.
To find yours, youll have to do a bit of detective work. A good place to start is by looking at this chart of the common triggers, which also gives you signs that that it could be a trigger for you.
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Clinicians Must Be Ready To Treat Such Flares Which Are Inevitable
While psoriasis is by definition a chronic disease, it can be successfully controlled for long periods of time.
One way of looking at how well a patient’s psoriasis is controlled is to see how it is affecting a patient’s quality of life, said Laura K. Ferris, MD, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The disease can be considered to be well controlled “if it’s not interfering with your life anymore, and you’re not uncomfortable in terms of pain or sleep, and you’re satisfied with your treatment,” she said.
But there are also objective measures. For example, the National Psoriasis Foundation has established a treatment strategy called “treat to target” under which “well-controlled psoriasis” would mean clear or almost clear skin — the presence of psoriasis on 1% or less of the body — within 3 months of the start of treatment.
But no matter how well controlled the disease is, a patient is likely to experience exacerbations or “flares” at some point. “It’s the nature of the disease,” said Ferris.
And while the disease can get worse or better on its own, it can be susceptible to certain triggers, such as stress. “It’s one of the biggest ones we see,” said Ferris. “If my patients are under a lot of emotional stress, or family stress, or stress at work, their skin will definitely get worse.”
Menter pointed out that some medications are also known to act as triggers, such as beta blockers and lithium.
The Link Between Psoriasis And The Immune System
No one ever really considered that the immune system had any real role in psoriasis, or its painful outbreaks. Not until a new drug Cyclosporine was offered to arthritis patients. What happened next was both surprising and unexpected. Patients who were prescribed the immune suppressing drug for their arthritis symptoms , began to report a decrease in their skin attacks. Without warning, researchers were faced with the theory that the immune system could be causing psoriasis.
It didnt take long before researchers began to figure out the mystery of psoriasis in regards to how the immune system can impact it.
The Role of the Immune System on the Skin
The immune system is responsible for standing guard and attacking any invaders which penetrate the body. Since the skins main job is to act as the bodys first defense mechanism against invasion, it is no wonder that the immune system works in close connection with each layer of the skin. Heres how it all works:
1. Immune cells patrol the entire body for dangers. Why Is My Psoriasis Flaring Up
2. When an invader is detected, these immune send out chemical and nervous system messages to the immune system to ready itself for an attack
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3. To help safeguard the skin, the immune system release chemicals that can cause nerves to itch and blood vessels to dilate to prepare the skin for a sudden rush of immune cells
4. When the immune cells arrive at the scene, most work to kill off the pathogens causing the distress, but a few capture some of the invaders and take them back to the heart of the immune system, where other soldier cells are produced in a way to recognize and attack the invading cells on contact
5. Inflammation is the bodys way of opening blood vessels to allow more soldier cells to rush to the battlefield.
While this entire process is completely normal, people with psoriasis tend to overproduce these soldier cells when the body feels threatened. This overabundance of killer immune cells can actually be dangerous to the skin since they begin to attack good cells along with the bad ones.
While it is great to finally understand the impact an improperly working immune system can have on your skin and cause psoriasis more research is needed to pinpoint the exact cause for the over-firing of the cell messages. Why Is My Psoriasis Flaring Up
Get Psoriasis Advice Today
Everyone’s experience with psoriasis is different, so if you’ve got any tips to share or questions to ask us, please leave a comment below. We always love to hear from you.
And if you’re looking for professional medical advice on dealing with psoriasis this summer, hit the button below to connect with a UK-based GP at a time and place to suit you.
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Treat At The First Sign Of A Flare
Dont wait until your symptoms are really affecting you to start treating a flare-up: As soon as you notice a change in your skin that could signal an oncoming flare , its time to act, Dr. Stein says. Apply a topical steroid as directed and try to take it easy.
Also, its important not to stop treatment until youre completely free of symptoms, Dr. Stein says, even if the flare appears to be going away. In my opinion, it comes back faster if its not completely clear to begin with, she explains.
Stay On Top Of Scalp Irritation And Itching
Try to resist the urge to scratch or rub your scalp during a flare-up. Doing so can cause bleeding, scabbing, and even hair loss.
Avoid using shampoos containing fragrance and alcohol. These products can dry out the scalp and worsen or even cause more flare-ups. When washing your hair, be gentle. Avoid scratching or scrubbing your scalp.
A scale softener that contains salicylic acid can help soften and loosen patches of psoriasis plaque during a flare-up.
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How Is The Psoriasis Itching And Burning Treated
The aim of treating itch caused by psoriasis is to break the cycle of itching and scratching. In people with psoriasis that causes frequent itching, scratching is a particular problem because it can damage the skin and cause new plaques to form in healthy areas of skin 1.
For people with milder psoriasis, itching can often be relieved by treating the underlying condition with the usual range of treatments . Other treatments that can help with itching and burning, include2:
- Over-the-counter antihistamines
- Moisturizers that contain colloidal oatmeal
Some prescription medicines can be used specifically to treat itch. A medicine made with capsaicin is an ointment that can help with psoriatic itch when applied three or four times a day. Certain types of antidepressants can also have an itch-relieving effect, as can a medicine called gabapentin3.
Patients with moderate or severe psoriasis may need to treat the condition with medicines called biologic therapies, such as etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, ustekinumab, secukinumab, and ixekizumab.
These are very powerful drugs that affect the immune system, unlike topical treatments that are applied directly to the skin. Biologic drugs can have the effect of disrupting the signal sent from the itch receptor to the brain4.
Researchers are currently developing new types of drugs specially designed to treat itching at its source in the brain.
Get Some Sun But Not Too Much
The ultraviolet rays in sunlight slow the growth of skin cells, so getting moderate doses of sun is good. But make it brief — about 20 minutes or so at a time. And use sunscreen. Sunburn can trigger psoriasis, and it raises your risk of skin cancer. Some medications can make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet rays, so talk to your doctor first. Read more on the risks and benefits of sunlight for psoriasis.
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Sneaky Trigger: Vending Machines
Healthy eating equals healthy skin. I tell my patients that anything inherently bad for you, like foods with a high-glycemic index could potentially flare one’s psoriasis, says Dr. Friedman. Try to cut back on processed foods including white bread, donuts, bagels, and sugary drinks. Some studies also show that curcumin, which gives turmeric its orange color, can be helpful at high concentrations for psoriasis. Pick this super food up in powder form from a health store and mix it into a smoothie with avocado, nut butter or coconut oil for better absorption.
Megan Had Her Ears Pierced But Found Psoriasis Grew In The Holes Shes Unsure About Getting Her Belly Button Pierced
EMBED CODEClothes/fabrics and jewelleryDid anything, did they find anything?How did you find the allergy testing?Was it uncomfortable or was it painful or itchy do you remember?Weather/temperaturesDoes weather make a difference at all to your psoriasis?Does it make it worse?So, do you have to do different treatments in winter or?sleeping at nightProducts containing strong fragrances/chemicals
Food, drink and smoking
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How To Treat Moderate To Severe Psoriasis
If at-home treatments are not reducing your psoriasis flares as well as youd like them to, consider speaking with your doctor about psoriasis treatment options available at IVX Health. At IVX Health, you can receive revolutionary psoriasis biologic medications, including Remicade and Cimzia, administered via an injection or an infusion. To find your closest IVX Health center, .
Treatment at IVX Health
If biologics like Remicade, Actemra or Orencia are a part of your chronic illness treatment plan, then consider choosing IVX Health for your ongoing care needs. IVX Health makes it possible to receive your therapy in a comfortable, convenient, and private environment.
With a private suite for every patient, you can watch your favorite Netflix show or movie on the big screen TV in each room, use a laptop or other mobile device to surf the web, or simply hang out with family and friends. We always have chairs for guests, and each center has a family room that is spacious and private if you need to bring your kids to your treatment. We also offer flexible appointment scheduling including evenings and Saturdays at any of our convenient locations.
At IVX Health, we truly are invested in helping you live your best life. If youre ready to experience a new kind of infusion clinic, .
Identifying Triggers Is The First Step In Preventing Symptoms
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology and works as a practicing dermatologist and clinical professor.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by the spontaneous appearance or worsening of symptoms, known as flares, followed by periods of remission. The cause of flares is poorly understood but triggers such as skin trauma, cold weather, stress, and smoking are known to set the stage. It’s believed that the sudden rise in inflammation that these psoriasis triggers prompt reactivates the autoimmune response.
When this happens, the immune system releases compounds called cytokines as if the body has encountered an actual threat. The ensuing inflammation is what causes the outbreak of symptoms, primarily skin lesions known as plaques.
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Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Keeping your skin lubricated can go a long way in preventing or worsening dry, itchy skin caused by a psoriasis flare-up. It can also help reduce redness and heal the skin, making your flare-up easier to manage.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends using heavy creams or ointments that lock in water. Look for moisturizers that are fragrance-free or alcohol-free. Fragrances and alcohol can actually dry out your skin.
If youre looking for a natural or cost-effective solution, you can use cooking oils or shortening to keep your skin moisturized. When in doubt, ask your dermatologist for a recommendation.
Take shorter showers with lukewarm water to help protect your skins moisture. Be sure to use fragrance-free soaps. Always apply moisturizer after showering, washing your face, or washing your hands.
Add oil to bathwater if you prefer taking baths, or are looking to soothe dry, itchy skin. Soaking in Epsom or Dead Sea salts is recommended for itchy skin. Be sure to limit your bath time to 15 minutes and moisturize immediately afterward.
Try putting your creams or moisturizers in the refrigerator. This can help soothe the burning sensation that often accompanies the itching during a flare-up.
Sneaky Trigger: Alcohol Consumption
You may want to think twice before ordering an alcoholic drink or using medication that contains it. Alcohol intake has been shown to worsen psoriasis, though withholding it is certainly not a cure, says Dr. Friedman. While its not proven that one type of alcohol is worse, you could argue that the carbohydrates in beer could cause inflammation due to the high glycemic load. Curiously, people with psoriasis consume more alcohol than the average population, according to one study. Either way, limit what you drink to no more than the recommended amount of one drink a day for women and two for men.
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