Minimise psoriasis outbreaks with our expert tips from Consultant Dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite.
Struggling with sore, itchy patches of skin? If you’re one of the 1.8 million people in the UK who suffer with psoriasis, navigating the summer months can be a nightmare.
As a chronic autoimmune skin disease, psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky patches of skin anywhere on the body and it can have a significant impact on yourconfidence, your self-esteem and your mood.
But don’t lose hope! Dr Alexis Granite, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic offers her expert tips on coping with psoriasis all year round:
What causes psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes red patches of inflamed skin with silvery-white scales, often on the elbows and knees but may occur anywhere on the body. It is often genetic and is not contagious. It commonly presents in the mid 30s – but it can occur at any age.
Skin turnover is accelerated in those suffering from psoriasis, which causes accumulation of cells on the skin surface and leads to scaling. Psoriasis triggers include:
- Dry weather and lack of adequate sun exposure
- Recent infection such as strep throat and upper respiratory infections
- Dry skin and injury to the skin such as cuts, burns, and insect bites.
- Certain medications can induce a psoriasis flare including anti-malarials, beta-blockers, and lithium.
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption may also exacerbate the condition.
While frustratingly there is currently no cure for psoriasis, there are a multitude of treatment options and lifestyle changes to help manage the condition to a certain degree. Dr Granite recommends the following tips:
1.Seek medical help for psoriasis
The first step in managing psoriasis is to visit a dermatologist. While psoriasis is not curable, there are a multitude of treatment options to help control the disease and improve symptoms.
Topical steroids, UV therapy and the newer biologics such as Enbrel are examples of some of the therapies available.
- Harsh products and psoriasis treatment
Alcohol or acid-based ingredients (glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid) which can be found in soaps, moisturisers and deodorants, can cause irritation and inflammation.
- Keep a diary to manage psoriasis
Keeping a daily diary can helpful in monitoring psoriasis flare-ups. Stress levels, diet, exercise, skin products, medications, exposure to sunlight, and sleep and hydration levels may all play a role. Reviewing a daily diary with your skin specialist may help you better understand and manage the condition.
- Stress reduction can help with psoriasis
Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis. Meditating, yoga, acupuncture and exercise are all effective ways to help reduce stress. Also try to ensure you are getting adequate sleep.
- Diet can impact psoriasis
A well-rounded diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and monounsaturated fats may help reduce psoriasis flare-ups.
For some patients supplements containing omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil and flaxseed may also be helpful, but it is advisable to speak with a medical professional before introducing nutritional supplements into your diet.”
- Smoking and psoriasis
Both smoking and excessive drinking may make psoriasis significantly worse.
- Moisturise to treat psoriasis
Applying emollients regularly helps prevent new psoriatic plaques forming and may reduce reduce itching.
- UV light and psoriasis
UV exposure helps reduce psoriasis symptoms, but over-exposure can have a detrimental effect on the skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.
Always use sun cream to protect your skin and talk to your healthcare professional about the possibility of in-office or home UV treatment.