Although there is no cure for psoriasis, oral and topical
medications are an invaluable tool for many people in managing the disease. In
addition to topicals—applied directly to the skin to reduce itching and
inflammation and improve the skin’s appearance—healthy lifestyle choices are
also an effective way to manage psoriasis. Heed these dos and don’ts to make life
a little easier.
Do Manage Stress
Though there is no research definitively showing that
lowering stress can improve your psoriasis, many patients swear by the
strategy. Lori Leyden, PhD, who has had psoriasis for 30 years and is the
author of The Stress Management Handbook: Strategies for Health and Inner
Peace, is one of them.
"[My psoriasis] has been under control for the last 20
years, every since I started practicing stress management."
Don't Be Overweight
Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is critical,
says Neil Korman, MD, clinical director of the Murdough Family Center for
Psoriasis in Cleveland Heights, Ohio: "We do know that people who are
obese are at increased risk for psoriasis, and that losing weight may help
improve your psoriasis."
Do Avoid Harsh
Avoid harsh soaps (such as deodorant soaps) as well as
scrubs, which can be very irritating, says Neil Korman, MD, PhD, clinical
director of the Murdough Family Center for Psoriasis in Cleveland.
Don't OD on Junk
Small tweaks (eating more vegetables, trading white bread
and rice for whole grains, eliminating processed food) can improve your health
Do Sun With Care
Though UV light can be therapeutic, you don't want to get
burned. Expert recommend staying in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes—long enough to
get the benefit of the sun, but not long enough to get burned.
(Even a mild sunburn can trigger a psoriasis outbreak.)
Don't Dry Out
Doctors recommend that psoriasis patients keep their skin
well moisturized to prevent scales and soothe dry skin.
The most moisturizing formulas are ointments (Vaseline,
Aquaphor), followed by creams (Cetaphil, Nivea, CeraVe) and lotions (Aveeno).
Do Practice Scalp
Many psoriasis patients have lesions on their scalps.
Coal-tar shampoos slow the proliferation of skin cells and reduce inflammation.
Conditioners can disguise the smell of tar shampoos and
restore the moisture that shampoos take away.
Popular choices among posters on the National Psoriasis
Foundation's message boards include Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Conditioner,
Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Conditioner, and Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp
Do Choose the Right
It's safe to use makeup anytime, even if you have a
breakout. Just look for makeup that says noncomedogenic
Go for fragrance-free products, as the fragrances in
cosmetics are a common source of irritation.