I used to envy people who could tell you exactly what triggered their psoriasis. Some people say nightshade vegetables, while others blame gluten. Often, these people eliminate the trigger and within three months they are psoriasis-free.
I, on the other hand, never had the type of psoriasis that flares due to specific triggers. If I’m not using a treatment, my psoriasis is around 24/7 and covers 90 percent of my body. The only thing that seems to control my disease is medicine.
Now that I’m on an effective treatment and have achieved clear skin, I pay much more attention to my skin changes. I’ve found that, at times, I still experience flares. At first I assumed my medicine was no longer working, but I noticed the spots would come and go. As I paid more attention, I discovered that, in fact, certain habits and activities are responsible for my recent flares:
1. Taking a dip
This past summer I took swim lessons for the first time since I was 10 years old. I was in and out of the pool a few times a week for a couple of months. Shortly after my lessons, I started to notice new psoriasis spots. I later learned the chlorine can cause dryness and irritation. Now I apply a petroleum-based cream to my skin before entering the water.
2. Turning up the heat
Another habit that causes my psoriasis to flare is taking steaming hot showers. As much as I love hot showers and baths, the water dries out my skin and usually causes me to flare. Now I make sure to keep the water warm, but not hot.
3. Having a drink
I indulge in cocktails from time to time, but alcohol definitely makes my psoriasis flare. It’s dehydrating and causes dry skin. Now that I understand how my body responds to alcohol I am more conscious of how much I drink. I limit my cocktails to a couple a month, and when I do drink, I make sure my water intake is much higher than my alcohol intake.
4. Not moisturizing
I don’t know if I’m the only one with this issue, but I have the hardest time using moisturizers as directed. Putting lotion on my body two or three times a day just seems really time-consuming. I’m still working on correcting this bad habit. I realize not applying a moisturizer to my skin is not doing it any favors, especially when I’m swimming in a pool a few times a week.
So, what self-sabotaging mistakes are you making? What could you be doing differently?
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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.