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6 Tips for Preventing a Psoriasis Flare-Up

Knowing that psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects more than 8 million Americans and about 125 million people around the world isn't much comfort when you’re dealing with constant symptoms or a flare-up. 

The classic signs of red patches, flaking and silvery scales, burning, tenderness, thickening, and cracking are not only uncomfortable, they can be embarrassing as well. 

While there’s no cure for psoriasis, there are ways to help manage your symptoms and try to keep flare-ups to a minimum. Dr. Matthew Mittelbronn at Lakeview Dermatology in Lake Worth, Texas, treats a wide range of skin conditions, including psoriasis, and can help you find the right treatment for yours. 

One of the most important aspects of any psoriasis treatment involves your participation. The better you are consistent with using recommended treatments and avoiding those things that can worsen or trigger your psoriasis, the better you’ll be able to keep your psoriasis under control and help prevent flare-ups. 

Here are some tips:

1. Manage Your Stress

The most common factor in causing new psoriasis or triggering a flare is stress.  This includes both emotional and physical stress.  Examples include work requirements, life events, personal problems, surgery, automobile accident or other trauma and are all the kinds of things that can trigger psoriasis.  While some stress is impossible to avoid, managing or minimizing other stressors is key for control.  A few things you can do are:

2. Avoid Trauma to Your Skin

One interesting and unique feature of psoriasis is a response called the Koebner phenomenon. This is the skin’s tendency in psoriasis to cause new areas or worsen existing areas with trauma or damage to the skin.     

Common causes of this reaction are cuts and scrapes, but anything that damages the skin can cause it, especially picking and scratching at your lesions.  Chronic rubbing or friction such as caused by a tight hat brim, waistband, or chin strap are some other examples, as well as thermal burns or chemical damage to the skin.

Also keep in mind that while a bit of sun exposure can be beneficial, too much sun exposure, especially a sunburn is another trauma and possible trigger for a flare.

3. Keep Your Medical Conditions Under Control

Medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, among others are highly associated with psoriasis, especially moderate to severe and difficult to control psoriasis.  

When these conditions are poorly-controlled, they place a type of hidden stress on your body and can cause flares, just like the other stressors noted above.  Taking all of your medications as prescribed and keeping close follow-up with your primary physician are key to managing these problems and lessening the chances of your psoriasis flaring.

4. Lose Weight

Carrying extra weight, particularly abdominal obesity, is also highly associated with difficult to control and flaring psoriasis.  The combination of the conditions listed above along with obesity form what is known as the “Metabolic Syndrome’, which is the second most highly associated cause of psoriasis other than stress.

As an added bonus, the 2 most important factors in weight loss, a healthy diet and exercise, are also things that tend to improve psoriasis.  This is due to the fact that these measures are other ways to reduce stress. 

5. Pay Attention to Your Medications

As we discussed, some medications are beneficial and maybe even necessary in your fight against psoriasis.  However, there are others that can actually cause psoriasis or make it worse.

The most common culprits are certain high blood pressure, mental health, anti-inflammatory, and anti-infection medications.  Thankfully, this is not common, but if you start a new medication and your psoriasis flares, then there is possibly an association.

Tell us about any new medications, medication changes, or new over the counter drugs that you are taking, as they may be the culprit in your flare-ups.

6. Keep a diary

It’s a good idea to keep a diary or a list on your phone describing the circumstances surrounding your psoriasis flare-ups, including stressful events, emotional stress, illness or injury, dietary changes, weather conditions, and new medications or supplements.  

Your own investigation efforts can help you learn a lot about your particular psoriasis and its triggers.

How we treat your psoriasis

After we confirm your psoriasis diagnosis, we discuss your treatment options. Depending on the amount of body area involvement, locations, and severity of your condition, we may recommend over the counter treatments, a little sunlight exposure, or a variety of prescription topical or systemic medications.

Minimal or localized psoriasis often responds to topical preparations.  Whereas more widespread moderate or severe psoriasis may require oral or injectable medications.

Determining the best treatment plan is a collaboration between our patients and Dr Mittelbronn to find what works best, while keeping individual needs and safety in mind.

To learn more about psoriasis and find which treatment is right for you, call us at Lakeview Dermatology to schedule a consultation today.  

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