According to the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), 125 million people globally have psoriasis. And while the numbers are alarming, it’s essential to understand that this autoimmune disease is not contagious.
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What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches of skin known as plaques. These can be itchy, painful, and unsightly. Moreover, the plaques can appear on any body part but are most commonly found on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back.
The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is considered an immune-mediated disease. This means the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, causing them to grow and multiply faster than average. This leads to the buildup of excess skin cells on the surface, resulting in the characteristic plaques of psoriasis. Given these, specific treatments can help prevent or manage psoriasis flare-ups.
Psoriasis flare-ups can be unpredictable and challenging to manage. This can disrupt your daily life or cause emotional distress. However, with the right approach and knowledge, it’s possible to reduce the frequency and severity of your psoriasis. One way to do this is using a psoriasis cream to moisturize the skin effectively and prevent scaling.
Types Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis can be categorized into different types. This includes the following:
- Plaque psoriasis – Red, scaly patches of skin that can be itchy and painful.
- Guttate psoriasis– Small, red, tear-drop-shaped spots can appear suddenly, often following a strep throat infection.
- Inverse psoriasis – Smooth, red patches appear in areas where skin rubs together, such as the armpits and groin.
- Pustular psoriasis – Unsightly white, pus-filled blisters surrounded by red skin.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis – It’s considered the worst type of all because it’s often widespread and has fiery redness and severe itching and pain.
Understanding the different types of psoriasis is essential to find the right treatment.
Ways To Manage Psoriasis Flare-ups
Aside from using apsoriasis cream that works, there are other ways to help you manage the flare-ups. Below are some tips.
1. Understand The Triggers
Triggers are specific factors that can cause a flare-up. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help to reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Some of the common triggers of psoriasis flare-ups are the following:
- Diet:Like other diseases, diet plays a crucial role in treatments. There are certain foods that you should avoid to manage and prevent flare-ups. This may include gluten, processed foods, dairy, and alcohol.
- Stress or anxiety:Stress and anxiety can occur due to various reasons, which include work, relationships, and even health. Avoiding or managing your stress and anxiety is best to prevent flare-ups.
You can try meditation, exercise, or get enough sleep to help you manage your stress levels. Otherwise, you may consult mental health professionals to know how to deal with stress or anxiety.
- Injury to the skin:Traumato the skin, such as cuts, scrapes, or burns, can also trigger a flare-up. This is known as the ‘Koebner phenomenon.’ If you encounter a skin injury, it’s best to seek medical attention immediately.
- Infection:Some infections may initiate a flare-up, such as strep throat. In this case, observing the symptoms and consulting your doctor if the infection triggers your psoriasis would be helpful.
- Medications:Medicines like betablockers, lithium, or antimalarial drugscan trigger psoriasis. Therefore, if you’re prescribed to take any medication, it’s best to inform medical professionals about your psoriasis.
- Weather:The cold weather can cause the skin to become dry and cracked. In such cases, you can use a humidifier and apply moisturizer to your skin to prevent flare-ups.
On the other hand, warm weather can improve psoriasis because of the humidity. However, it’s best to wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure and sweating, as it can trigger flare-ups.
Triggers can vary from one person to another. Observing what triggers your psoriasis and consulting your doctor about them can help you manage and prevent the flare-ups.
2. Keep The Affected Skin Moisturized
Dry skin can exacerbate symptoms and cause itching, redness, and discomfort. As mentioned, moisturizing your skin can help reduce inflammation and improve the skin’s overall appearance.
You can use a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer immediately after bathing when the skin is still damp. This will help lock in moisture. Moreover, it’s best to look for moisturizers that contain ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or urea. These ingredients can help retain moisture in the skin.
3. Use Topical Treatments
Topical treatments such as creams and ointments that contain active ingredients can help reduce inflammation and slow the growth of skin cells. Common types of topical treatments for psoriasis include:
- Vitamin D analogs
- Coal tar
- Salicylic acid
Moreover, you should consult your doctor to know which cream or ointment is best for your skin type.
4. Light Therapy
This treatment involves exposing the affected skin to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can help to reduce inflammation and slow the growth of skin cells. The two types of UV light that commonly treat psoriasis are UVA and UVB light. UVA is administered in a clinical setting, while UVB light can be done at home using a UVB light box.
Before starting light therapy, it’s essential to consult with a medical professional to determine the most appropriate treatment option for you. It’s important to note that light therapy can cause side effects such as burning, itching, or skin redness, which may not be suitable for everyone.
5. Injectable Medications
Injectable medications are another option for managing psoriasis flare-ups. They work by suppressing the immune system and slowing the growth of skin cells. They’re typically used when other treatments, such as topical medications and light therapy, have not been successful.
Injectable medications are only prescribed by a healthcare provider and should be administered in a clinical setting. Injectable medications can have serious side effects and require close monitoring by a healthcare provider. Furthermore, they may interact with other medicines you’re taking.
There’s no known cure for psoriasis, but with the right approach, it’s possible to manage the symptoms, reduce flare-ups, and improve the overall quality of life for those who suffer from this condition. Consult your doctor for a personalized treatment plan, and don’t be afraid to ask for support from loved onesor support groups. Remember that you’re not alone in this journey, and with the right tools, you can take control of your condition and live a happier, healthier life.