Lifestyle Changes That Help You Avoid Flare-Ups
By Freedom 360
Medically reviewed by Freedom 360 Panel of Doctors
The thing about flare-ups is that they don’t have any sense of timing. That’s why they happen when you least want them to, like before a job interview or a major social occasion.
Flare-ups are an unavoidable part of living with psoriasis, but there are steps you can take to reduce their occurrence and their severity. While following your doctor’s treatment plan for you is the most important thing you can do, there are several lifestyle changes you can make that will help.
First, try to relax. Stress tends to make any medical condition worse, and that is definitely true of psoriasis. Stress is not a cause of psoriasis but it can contribute to the severity of the flare upi. You need to be disciplined and avoid situations that you know will stress you. Don’t take on too much and put yourself under unnecessary pressure. Find time to do relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation or just walking through a park or garden.
While there is no proven scientific link that proves foods cause psoriasis flare-ups, there is enough anecdotal evidence from people with psoriasis that it is worth exploring the removal of certain foods from your diet that may be triggersii . Some people find their condition improves when they remove gluten from their diet, while for others it is dairy. The best way to find out is stop consuming one item for a week or two, then see what the result is. It is a very inexact approach, but you will know from your own observations and experience if avoiding a type of food helps you control your condition.
There are many reasons to tone down your alcohol consumption or cut it out altogether. Studies have shown that there is a link between the excessive consumption of alcohol and psoriasisiii . People with psoriasis are also more prone to mental health problems and the consumption of alcohol will only make matters worse.
Dry air – planes and hotels
Singapore has very humid air that helps keep our skin hydrated, which is a good thing. However, when we spend time in another environment with dryer air, our skin may not respond well to itiv . For example, a long flight will expose your skin to very dry air for many hours and can contribute to the severity of a flare-up. Another example would be spending extended time in a hotel room for work, which can also dry out your skin. So if you don’t have a good moisturiser you can carry with you when you travel, talk to your doctor and get one.
Scratches and cuts
Keeping active and healthy is a great way to keep your psoriasis under control. But many activities will expose you skin to an increased possibility of scratches and cuts. Sports, bush walking and even gardening have the potential to impact your skin in a way that will irritate it and contribute to a flare-up. And while a little sun is good for your skin, too much has the opposite effect and can make your skin’s condition worse.
Of course the answer is not to avoid healthy outdoor activities. A better solution is to take care of your skin and cover it using light, breathable material which will stop surface scratches and other forms of irritation to your skin. A good quality broad spectrum sunscreen will stop exposed skin from getting sunburned and a wide brimmed hat is both fashionable as well as sensible.
- Higgins EM, du Vivier AW. Alcohol and the skin. Alcohol Alcohol 27(6):595–602 (1992 Nov).