Living with psoriasis can lead to unique challenges. Here you can read some useful tips to face them better,many of the thoughts and doubts about everyday life with the disease will be answered here.
Is there a way to relieve itching?
The medical treatment for psoriasis prescribed by the dermatologist is specifically devised to control all features of the disease, including the itch.
Remember that scratching and removing psoriatic scales may worsen local symptoms; the development of skin disease in sites of skin trauma is known as the Koebner phenomenon: basically, any kind of skin trauma may trigger the appearance of psoriatic plaques at the injured site.
Take-home message: don’t scratch and don’t try to remove the scales to avoid making the situation worse!
Are there any natural remedies?
Baths were and are used for reducing the itch and skin rash, you should take a bath at least once a day for 15 minutes. It is also recommended to apply a moisturizer or a balm.
Below the list of some old but always valid remedies:
The water will take on a milky appearence. In the past the bran was used instead,it was put in an old pillowcase and the bundle was pressed with the feet to let the starches come out.
- Chamomile,sodium bicarbonate and almond oil bath
2 spoons of sodium bicarbonate
2 spoons of chamomile flowers (it has a cicatrize and antifungal properties)
1 spoon of honey
3-6 spoons of almond oil (for a antioxidant and elasticizing effect plus it’s rich in A,D,E vitamin)
mix the ingredients in a container
Apple cider has antioxidant and antibacterial properties,it contains vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and C. Pour a cup into the tub, adding sodium bicarbonate for a detoxifying bath. An Almond oil compress was once used for cleaning the scalp followed by a shampoo and a good rinse with vinegar. The hair became soft, silky and shiny.
It has been demonstrated for centuries that Dead Sea salts are beneficial to the skin of those suffering from diseases such as Psoriasis, vitiligo and dermatitis. There’s a surpisingly high concentration of minerals in them: up to 5% more magnesium and 50% more bromine in comparison to other seas.
A balancing and astringent product,ideal for healing irritated skin. It has been used in India for centuries as an ingredient for medicines. For the preparation add 1 liter of boiling water with 100 gr of fresh leaves,now enjoy your bath.
Algae have a remineralizing and stimulating properties, they are particularly indicated for dry and demineralized skin.
How can I restore my skin hydration or keep it hydrated?
The right cream must have two properties: humectant,i.e able to absors or retain moisture and emollient (made with butter or vegetable oil such as Karité butter or coconut,almond,olive oil),able to create a protective film that blocks the water present in the skin. Emollient is often wrongly used as “moisturizing”. The skin produce water by itself. The cream can’t produce water, but helps to keep the water in the skin.
Lenitive creams, based on mineral powders such as silicate zinc oxide, have instead a desiccating, astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effect.
There are excellent creams on the market,choose them carefully and be mindful of their price and effectivness. You can find cream more or less greasy. There’s nothing more personal than choosing the most suitable cream for each skin. We can find many products on the market suitable for any kind of damage, but testing the cream on your own skin is the only assurance.
It is also better to avoid wasting time by following false beliefs:for example lemons don’t lighten the skin, in fact the citric acid contained in lemons has no effect on the melanin (the pigment of our skin).
It is certainly true that pineapple contains a well-known anti-inflammatory effect, but it can not penetrate deeply or reduce skin swelling.
Is there a link between psoriasis and obesity?
The strong association with metabolic syndrome, hepatic steatosis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and dyslipidemia unequivocally points to a link between psoriasis and obesity. The incidence of overweight and obesity is higher in people with psoriasis than in the general population.
Recent studies have shown that weight loss synergizes with the effect of drugs used for systemic medical therapy. It has also been noted that weight loss alone can result in clinical improvement in milder forms of psoriasis. Therefore, all patients with psoriasis are strongly advised to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
Does smoking affect psoriasis?
Smoking damages health in many ways; more in detail, by interfering with the proper functioning of the immune system while promoting inflammation. Because a dysfunction of the immune system and inflammation play a key role in the mechanism by which psoriasis begins and self-perpetuates, smoking negatively affects the course of the disease.
Studies have confirmed that psoriasis strongly benefits and sometimes goes into remission with smoking cessation.
Could playing sports help my psoriasis?
Safe and regular physical activity is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Aerobic exercise in particular not only works as cardiovascular and metabolic prevention, but also protects against psoriasis.
Can I donate blood?
Psoriasis in itself does not contraindicate blood donation, although some drugs used to treat the disorder may not meet the eligibility criteria for donation. Speak to the physician at your blood donation centre (or the physician in charge at the mobile donation unit) explaining you have psoriasis and list the drugs you’re taking. The physician will evaluate your case and decide if you can donate.
We take this opportunity to stress the fact that psoriasis is not a contagious disease, therefore it cannot be transmitted through transfusion.
How about yoga?
Besides psoriasis, yoga has many positive effects on body and mind. Speaking of the physical benefits, it tones muscles, increases flexibility and balances the whole body; on the other hand, yoga practice develops concentration, teaches correct breathing and helps relax your mind. Since emotional stress is known to worsen psoriasis, yoga may certainly contribute to improve the course of the disease by boosting physical and mental well-being.
Can I go to the swimming pool or could chlorine hurt my skin?
The authorized concentrations of chlorine in public swimming pools should not cause any particular problem or be harmful to psoriatic skin; anyhow, it could cause dryness and irritation, which can be avoided by applying of soothing lotions after swimming.
Do sea and sunshine improve my skin condition?
With few exceptions, sunshine and sea water are known to have a largely positive impact on psoriasis. The exposure to sunbeams in summer frequently leads to a substantial clinical improvement and sometimes to the disappearance of psoriatic skin lesions; the effect tends to last for a long time after exposure.
The goal of phototherapy is to bring about the benefits of summer sun exposure and extend them year-round, simulating the natural effect of sunlight through special fluorescent lamps emitting ultraviolet (A or B) light, which acts by slowing down cellular proliferation (antiproliferative effect) and reducing inflammation (antiinflammatory effect) in psoriatic skin. We would like to stress that medical phototherapy devices are different from cosmetic indoor tanning devices because they produce a different kind of light, therefore indoor tanning cannot replace phototherapy in the treatment of psoriasis.
Could scalp psoriasis damage my hair?
Psoriasis can severely affect the scalp and in some cases psoriatic lesions of the scalp may be associated with the presence of greasy flakes, a condition known as sebopsoriasis. The presence of plaques on the scalp must always be inspected both because it can be a source of strong discomfort in everyday life and because it may herald the onset of psoriatic arthritis.
However, scalp psoriasis is not associated with alopecia or hair loss.
Can perspiration worsen my condition?
Perspiration can chafe and emphasize itch. Scratching can cause skin lesions and worsen the disease (Koebner phenomenon).
Try not to scratch yourself and avoid removing the scales if you don’t want to worsen your condition.
How should I dress?
There are no guidelines regarding clothing, it depends on the severity of the disease: in general,synthetic clothing is not recommended. It would be preferable to use large, fresh and pure cotton garments or natural fibers that do not irritate the skin.
Does sleep affect psoriasis?
Sleeping promotes cell renewal, improves skin quality, keeps the immune and endocrine systems efficient, invigorates the nervous system and boosts your mood.
Sleep problems affect psoriasis because they are closely related to psychological and physical well-being and therefore they must be addressed with the help of a physician or possibly a psychologist.
Should I talk to a psychologist?
The visible symptoms of psoriasis – spots, erythematous patches, scaling plaques – can cause deep embarrassment and psychological
distress with heavy drawbacks on emotional life and relationships. Moreover, living with psoriasis can be frustrating because it’s chronic and may not respond promptly to medical treatment, requiring subsequent adjustments of therapy over time, which makes it all the worse.
In view of this, whether you’re experiencing actual psychosocial distress or not, psychological support is always recommended.
Can I get a tattoo?
Psoriasis is no contraindication for tattooing. However, it is a chronic disease with a tendency to relapse on different parts of the body over the years, so trying to cover the lesions with a tattoo is no permanent solution to the problem. Moreover, skin trauma caused by tattooing may trigger the Koebner phenomenon , that is to say a local worsening of symptoms at the site of injury, including the appearance of psoriatic patches and plaques.
Could laser sessions help?
Laser is nowadays widely used in medicine, but not to treat psoriasis. Due to the chronic nature of the disorder and its tendency to show up on different parts of the body, trying to remove psoriatic plaques surgically or through laser sessions is useless if not harmful, as it can trigger the Koebner phenomenon, leading to the appearance of psoriatic plaques on the treated areas.
What will others say about me?
Whatever they say, “do not care about them and go on”, as Dante Alighieri said in his Divine Comedy. Psoriasis is not contagious, although it may be embarrassing when it is very obvious. It must not influence your self-esteem or other people’s opinion of you. Should anybody distance themselves from you because of psoriasis, they are poorly informed and you can try to explain them your condition.