Tips on Better Living
Seven Golden Rules to looking after psoriatic skin
If you suffer from psoriasis and have extremely tender and sensitive skin, there are a number of things you can do in your daily life to minimise the pain, the redness, the itch and the flaking that comes with the condition.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
Keeping your skin moist helps reduce dryness, itching, redness, soreness, and scaling. Moisture can also help your skin heal. Choose a non-comedogenic (does not clog pores) moisturiser. Which moisturizer you use depends on how dry your skin is. Ointments are thick, heavy, and good at locking moisture in, while lotions are thinner and smooth on easily. Creams fall somewhere in-between. Some people use petroleum jelly as an economical substitute. Pat it on gently after bathing, and reapply during the day as needed.
Enjoy some sun
A little ultraviolet (UV) light can go a long way in helping to sooth, improve and even heal psoriasis lesions. However do be careful and remember to use a sunscreen on areas of your body which are not affected by your psoriasis. Sunburns may make your outbreak worse.
Avoid anything rough against your skin
Psoriasis makes your skin extremely sensitive. Avoid harsh products that can cause irritation such as lotions containing alcohol, deodorant soaps, and even some laundry soaps. Scratchy, rough clothes can also aggravate your skin, so try switching to softer, less irritating cotton-based clothing.
Stop Scratching and Picking
Do not scratch and pick at your scabs. Doing so can tear open your skin and cause infection and lesions. Among the quickest and easiest solutions, a frozen gel pack applied to psoriatic skin not only eases itch by numbing nerve endings, but cools the rawness of inflamed patches
Wear protective gloves
Protect your hands by wearing gloves when you’re doing laundry, dishes or other housework which might require you to come in contact with irritants.
Minimise hand washing
Wash hands only when necessary and apply moisture after drying.
Don’t forget your feet
Remember to keep your feet clean and dry if you have psoriatic plaque on your feet to prevent bacterial or fungal growth. Wear cotton socks and open shoes when practical.
Recognising Nail Psoriasis and Tips on Nail Care
In people who have skin psoriasis, 10% to 55% have psoriasis of the nailsxii. If psoriasis of the nails is severe and not treated, it can lead to functional and social problemsxii.
If you have psoriasis of the nails, you might notice:
- Clear yellow-red nail discolouring under the nail plate.
- Pitting – this happens when cells are lost from the nail’s surface
- Crumbling – The nail plate crumbling from the nail bed because the nail is not healthy.
- Thickening of skin under the nail – which can lead to loosening of the nail
- Loosening - Nail loosens and you may develop a white area where it’s separated from the skin underneath your nailxii
It is important to protect your nails from damage because trauma may trigger or worsen nail psoriasis. To minimise damage, here are some tips on what you should do to areas where your nails have loosened, gently trim it back to where it’s still connected to the skin. This will help minimise painful accidents.
- Avoid harsh soaps when washing your hands and feet. Dry them thoroughly, including the areas around the nails, after washing
- Wear gloves to protect your hands and nails e.g. during gardening, cleaning, housework, leisure and sporting activities.
- Keep your fingernails short and trimmed. Longer fingernails are more likely to chip, crack, and collect dirt. Keeping your fingernails short also helps prevent psoriasis flare ups because you’re less likely to cut and scratch yourself with short nails.
- Keep your hands moisturized. Moisture helps your nails as much as it helps your skin. Apply lotion on your hands as often as you can during the day to help keep your nails healthy.