Psoriasis is an unpredictable autoimmune disease of the skin, affecting 125 million people worldwide. Although it can be a struggle to keep track of what makes your body tick, there are strategies you can take to stay ahead of a flare. Here are some issues you may encounter and how to best attack them.
In a recent survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, patients reported that itching is a huge part of what makes their disease difficult to deal with. At times my skin will itch before I ever see a spot. Usually after a session of scratching the very next day a flare in that area appears. A lot of patients have also reported that their skin itches much more at night than during the day. Doctors say this is due to your mind being occupied during the day, but not so much at night, therefore you are more likely to pay attention to your itching skin. Check out this article on how to get a good night’s sleep with psoriasis.
_How to stay ahead _
Use a cream with menthol: This will assist with stopping the itch.
Use a heavy moisturize: I love using coconut oil in conjunction with Eucerin.
Use a humidifier: This will puts moisture in the air to help keep the room from being dry.
Luke-warm showers: A shower that is too hot can dry out your skin.
Change in weather
Spring, winter, fall, and summer all present unique challenges when it comes to psoriasis. Summer is great for some but hard on others. While psoriasis improves for many during the hot months, for others it’s uncomfortable because they attempt to hide their disease with long sleeves and pants even when it’s really hot.
Cold winters are a very hard time for all psoriasis suffers, as indoor heating dries out the skin significantly. Lastly, spring months can be difficult for psoriasis patients because some flares are due to allergic reactions to pollen, which is at its highest during this time.
How to stay ahead
Find a seasonal regimen: Have a skin regimen for both cold and hot months. Heavy moisturizers, bath oils, luke-warm showers in the winter. In the summer you can use lighter moisturizers and set aside time to lay out in the sun.
Take an allergy pill before bed: This will help with the itching and help you get a good night sleep.
Staying on top of prescriptions
Keeping track of your prescriptions is vital to the condition of your skin. The old school methods of medicine for psoriasis required us to use them every day. Although this option is still available, you have more to choose from that don’t require as much frequency.
How to stay ahead* ** If you are using topicals:** When you are on your second-to-last refill be sure to call your doctor for a new prescription.
- If you are using biologics: The use of biologics vary from every week to every few months. Be sure to set a calendar reminder on your phone a few days before to remind yourself of your next injection. Since they aren’t as frequent it’s easy to forget. It may help to set the alarm the day you receive the shot, often times I forget when my last shot was so I have to set it the day of my first shot.
Track your progress
Keeping track of your psoriasis progress can be a bit tedious and difficult, but there are several companies that have made it easier to do. Tracking your condition is important because it allows you to figure out possible triggers and what helps your skin to be at its very best. Take a look at the top new apps on the market for psoriasis. You can then look at how your disease has progressed across weeks, months and even years. Some of the apps also allow you to set appointment and prescription reminders.
How to stay ahead* ** Share results with doctor**: Show the doctor your results during your appointment. Work with your doctor to figure out what options are best for you.
Alisha Bridges has battled with severe psoriasis for more than 20 years and is the face behind Being Me in My Own Skin, a blog which highlights her life with psoriasis. Her goals are to create empathy and compassion for those who are least understood, through transparency of self, patient advocacy, and healthcare. She is currently a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a Physician’s Assistance. Her passions are dermatology and sexual health. Alisha also shares her passion as a Social Ambassador of the Psoriasis HealthCentral Facebook page where she shares timely tips, stories and insights on living with psoriasis. You can also find Alisha on Twitter.
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.