Things That Make Your Psoriasis Worse
If you have psoriasis, you know just how frustrating the condition can be. Red, raised patches of skin or painful lesions can appearor worsenat a moment’s notice, and flares can sometimes last for months.
“People with psoriasis have an immune system that’s not following the rules,” says Delphine Lee, MD, PhD, director of the Dermatological Center for Skin Health at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. That unpredictability makes the skin disorder a challenge for patients and doctors alike.
To further complicate matters, everyone has different triggers that can send their psoriasis into a tailspin. That said, here are six of the most common ones. Your skin will thank you for steering clear of them.
When you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, your body signals your immune cells to “fight or take flight.” Inflammation starts up to attack foreign invaders or mop up an infection, even if neither exist. People with psoriasis already have overactive immune systems, so add stress to the mix and suddenly you have a flare-up. “There’s a clear mind-body connection,” says Lee. It’s crucial to learn to manage your emotions, whether through regular exercise, meditation, or speaking to a therapist.
Cold, dry air
Do Use Natural Products
The best natural products for your hair and scalp are usually the ingredients you can also ingest. As a child, I remember my grandmother using apple cider vinegar to grease my scalp, as it can help with infections and scaling. Other scalp-friendly products include olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado.
Beta Blockers And Drug
Clinical manifestations of beta-blocker-provoked psoriasis. In the past, beta blockers have been known to cause drug-induced/exacerbation of psoriasis, psoriasiform dermatitis, eczematous eruptions, and lichenoid changes. Psoriasiform eruptions are the most common cutaneous consequence of beta-blocker therapy, seen more frequently in patients with no past or family history of psoriasis., Clinical improvement after withdrawal of the implicated drug is the distinguishing feature in many cases suggesting drug-induced psoriasis. In a case-controlled and case-crossover study of 110 patients who were hospitalized for extensive psoriasis vulgaris, beta blockers were considered a major factor in triggering or aggravating psoriasis.â Practolol is the prototype cardioselective beta blocker, which is no longer available due to the high incidence of cutaneous side effects reported, including psoriasiform eruptions and exacerbations of pre-existing psoriasis. Transformation of plaque-type psoriasis into pustular psoriasis with pindolol has also been observed. In addition, atenolol has been reported to precipitate psoriasiform pustulosis. Topical application of timolol in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma has been reported to induce psoriasis and to transform psoriasis vulgaris into psoriatic erythroderma through the passage into the systemic circulation via the conjunctiva.,
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Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Up About Symptoms And Treatment Options
Inform your doctor know immediately if you notice plaques in your scalp. Ignoring these symptoms could worsen the disease and increase the risk of hair loss. You may also want to talk with your doctor about systemic drugs, which target the entire body including the scalp, without having to apply topical treatments directly.
How Is Psoriasis Treated
Psoriasis is usually treated by a dermatologist . A rheumatologist may also help with treatment. Treatments can include:
- ultraviolet light from the sun or from home or office treatments. But in some children, sunlight can make psoriasis worse.
- creams, lotions, ointments, and shampoos such as moisturizers, corticosteroids, vitamin D creams, and shampoos made with salicylic acid or coal tar
- medicines taken by mouth or injected medicines
A doctor might try one therapy and then switch to another, or recommend combining treatments. Itâs not always easy to find a therapy that works, and sometimes what works for a time stops helping after a while.
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Do Use Shampoos That Contain Tar Or Salicylic Acid
Tar has proven effective as a treatment for psoriasis for decades, but applying it can be messy, time consuming and changes can take time. Salicylic acid can also be useful, but can result in temporary hair loss if left on the scalp for too long. Additionally, over the counter scale softeners can be placed on the scalp to help loosen scales. The downside is that while these products can help with psoriasis, they often dry out the hair.
Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis plaques can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. The diseases symptoms and appearance vary according to the type and severity of psoriasis.
Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Discolored patches or raised plaques of skin that are covered with scales
- Burning, itching, or soreness near the affected areas
- Pitted or thickened fingernails or toenails
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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.
Scalp Psoriasis Causes Flakes
Yes, flakes can be embarrassing and a dead giveaway of your scalp condition, but while the flaking may resemble dandruff, psoriasis is not one of the sneaky causes of dandruff. Treating the psoriasis is the best thing you can do to get rid of the flakes, but in the meantime, you can wear light-colored clothing to help hide the flakes, says Jerry Bagel, MD, a dermatologist in East Windsor, NJ, and a board member at the NPF.
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What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have psoriasis, ask your healthcare provider:
- How can I prevent outbreaks and control symptoms?
- What medication will work best for me?
- What else should I do to improve symptoms?
- What are my options if creams dont work?
- Will psoriasis ever go away?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Psoriasis, an itchy skin condition, can come and go throughout your life. Its related to an overactive immune response and is not contagious. If you have skin changes that arent going away, talk to your healthcare provider. There is no cure for psoriasis, but psoriasis treatments can improve symptoms. Your provider may prescribe a special cream or moisturizer or medications. Other therapies are available if creams or medicines dont work. Maintaining your overall health will also help improve symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/17/2020.
What Is Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis is a condition that affects skin within the hairline, but it can extend to the forehead, ears or neck. It causes red, flaky crusty patches of skin that can get incredibly sore.
At its worst, scalp psoriasis causes these red patches of skin to thicken up and become covered in silvery scales. A study has also shown that people with psoriasis have a higher risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Scalp psoriasis happens when your immune system becomes damaged and sends faulty signals to your skin cells, causing them to grow too quickly.
The most common place to find psoriasis is on your scalp, with over half of all sufferers reporting the condition occurring in this area of the body. However, you can get psoriasis anywhere on your body, with other commonly affected areas including your elbows, knees, and lower back.
Most people are only affected by small patches of psoriasis. That said, in more severe psoriasis cases, some people develop large patches of psoriasis which can get extremely itchy and sore.
Scalp psoriasis is different from having eczema on the scalp, although the treatment options can be the same.
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Heres My Diet And The List Of Products I Use:
Nothing sold in a convenient store, all that is garbage.
No beef or cured pork.
No white bread.
Coffee thats diluted with an inch of milk. When Im at home, I use coconut milk.
IPAs and hard ciders are the only alcohols that dont trigger my psoriasis. I have read online other people who say IPAs do not cause outbreaks either. If I drink a Bud or Coors or whiskey, my skin gets bad immediately.
I drink one to two cups of detox tea a day.
How Can I Safely Get The Ultraviolet Light My Skin Needs
Definitely donât go running off to the tanning booth — there are safer ways to get your psoriasis-easing ultraviolet rays.
The medical use of light rays to treat psoriasis is known as phototherapy. A variety of options exist, which can be done in a doctorâs office, psoriasis clinic, or even the comfort of your home.
The form of light known as ultraviolet light B seems to be the most beneficial for treating psoriasis. Your doctor may prescribe a certain amount of UVB exposure depending on your symptoms. If your doctor does choose this form of light therapy for your psoriasis, ask whether you should consider purchasing a home UVB unit.
Other phototherapy options for psoriasis treatment include the use of ultraviolet light A in conjunction with special medications that respond to these light rays. This is rarely used, however, because it can cause skin cancer.
Looking for a reason to take a getaway to some tropical locale? It could be just what the doctor ordered to ease your psoriasis symptoms. The beneficial effects of a sunny vacation in the middle of winter could help ease psoriasis symptoms for a few months.
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What Happens After The First Outbreak
Usually it comes and goes and then thatâs all there is to it. In about 80% of people the spots will fade in three weeks to three months and never come back. But in some people it carries on to be long-term plaque psoriasis. Sometimes you can get a second outbreak, particularly if the streptococcus germ is still in your throat or tonsils.
Why Psoriasis Gets Worse On Busy Days
One of psoriasis-inducing factors is stress level. Busy days might put your stress level to its limit. Hence, it is not surprising that psoriasis may get worse during this time. In order to prevent psoriasis from getting worse during your busy days, you might consider relaxation to counter the possibility of increasing stress level.
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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.
What You Should Know About Vaccines With Psoriasis
Vaccines and psoriasis don’t always go well together. For staying healthy with psoriasis, find out why some vaccines need to be used with caution in psoriasis and why any vaccine might cause a psoriasis flare.
Getting vaccines with psoriasis is important because some medications you may be taking for the condition can increase your risk for certain diseases that vaccinations help prevent.
There can, however, be side effects of immunizations. Knowing the whole story will help you make the right choices.
Vaccines made from dead viruses are not usually a problem for people with psoriasis. Two live viral vaccines should be used with caution in psoriasis — these are the shingles virus and the live flu virus. Fortunately, you can take the killed version of the flu virus, explained Julie Anne Moore, MD, a dermatologist at Loyola University Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill.
The second thing you should know is that getting vaccines with psoriasis could cause psoriasis symptoms to flare, no matter what type of vaccine it is.
Thats because just putting a needle through your skin can cause a type of psoriasis reaction called a Koebner response, named after the German dermatologist who first described it in the 1800s.
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How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin, scalp, and nails. Theyâll also ask whether someone else in the family has psoriasis and if the child recently had an illness or started taking a new medicine.
Rarely, doctors might take a skin sample to check more closely. A biopsy can tell the doctor whether itâs psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.
Why Does My Psoriasis Get Worse In The Winter
After the summer sunshine, approaching winter can seem really bleak. Suddenly its cold, grey, damp and miserable and to top it all, your skin is breaking out in red, rough, itchy patches all the time.
So whats going on to make things so bad? Well, winter brings a perfect storm of challenges for those living with psoriasis.
- Cold, dry air – stripping the skin of moisture
- Reduced sunlight – low sunlight equals reduced Vitamin D which is essential for skin health
- Central heating – drying out the skin
- Overheating – getting hot and bothered in winter clothes can trigger a flare
- Stress – increased worries and general low mood in winter can affect how your body copes and worsen symptoms
- Lowered immune system – colds and flu can trigger/worsen psoriasis outbreaks
Our Top Tips For Managing Psoriasis In The Winter
Now’s the time to look after yourself and your skin very carefully!
The most important thing is to moisturise regularly, several times a day, using a good quality, non-irritant balm, such as Skin Salvation or our lighter, shea butter-based emollient, Daily Moisturising Cream.
This especially applies immediately after bathing, which means short, lukewarm showers or baths, not long hot soaks, and with no perfumed or soap-based products.
Practice ‘soak and seal‘: pat yourself dry with a soft towel, leaving skin slightly damp, then smoother skin in emollient of you choice, whether cream, oil or balm.
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Do Consult A Doctor Before You Use Meds For Body Or Scalp
Just because it can go on your body doesnt mean its suitable for your scalp. The NPF states that there are a variety of topicals that are safe for both the body and scalp, some of which include anthralin, Dovonex, Taclonex and Tazorac. Also be sure not to use anything prescribed for the scalp unless directed by a doctor.
Scalp Psoriasis Itches A Lot
Itching is one of the most commonand vexingsymptoms of scalp psoriasis, Dr. Farber says, adding that psoriasis on the scalp is the itchiest kind. But resist that urge to itch it! When you scratch the itch it leads to inflammation, which can make the scalp psoriasis spread, he says. Making matters even more difficult, stress tends to travel with psoriasis and many of us cope with stress by scratching. You can use an over-the-counter anti-itch product to help curb the itch, but be careful when you apply these products to inflamed scales, as they can burn or sting, he explains. Other anti-itch treatment options can include topical steroids and oral antihistamines.
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Is Psoriasis The Same As Eczema
Psoriasis and eczema are two different skin conditions. They differ in where the disease appears on the body, how much it itches and how it looks. Eczema tends to appear more often behind the knees and inside the elbows. Eczema also causes more intense itching than psoriasis. Many people, especially children, can get both eczema and psoriasis.
Natural Remedies For Scalp Psoriasis
Although its important to note that home remedies are not proven cures, the following treatments have all been reported to help ease some symptoms of scalp psoriasis.
Aloe vera – As a plant that has antibacterial properties, aloe vera can help reduce the itching, inflammation and flaking caused by scalp psoriasis.
Coconut or avocado oil – The natural fats of both avocado and coconuts can help keep skin healthy. Simply add a couple of drops of either oil to your scalp, then put on a shower cap. After 20 minutes, remove the cap and wash your hair. This is known to reduce the itching and redness associated with scalp psoriasis.
Garlic – Another ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties and packed full of antioxidants, garlic can help treat psoriasis and other skin conditions. Mixing pressed garlic with aloe vera is a commonly used home remedy. Like using coconut or avocado oil, simply rub the mixture onto your scalp, leave for 20 minutes, and then wash your hair.
Turmeric – This well-known herb contains curcumin, an ingredient that helps to heal wounds and reduce inflammation. If you have scalp psoriasis, introducing 1 to 3 grams of turmeric into your cooking can help alleviate the symptoms.
Note: If you have moderate or severe scalp psoriasis, its always best to seek the professional advice of a trained doctor before trying a natural remedy.
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