9 Things Which Could Worsen Psoriasis
Alisha Bridges | Jan 5, 2016
Reviewed by Michael Lehrer, MD on July 16, 2017
Psoriasis can be a tough battle and hard to control. These 9 things can also possibly worsen your psoriasis, so be sure to speak with your doctor about alternatives and living a healthier life with psoriasis.
Anytime I’ve indulged in alcohol, my skin itches tremendously, and I’ve heard others who’ve suffered as well. Alcohol leaves your body dehydrated, causing your kidneys to work overtime. It can also decrease the effectiveness of psoriasis meds. After talking with your doctor if you do have a cocktail, make sure water outweighs alcohol consumption.
There have only been a few studies on cigarettes’ effect on psoriasis. While researchers can’t pinpoint exactly how it worsens psoriasis, the condition has been shown to worsen in those who smoke compared to those who don’t smoke. There are a number of other factors too, but generally, smoking is bad for your health overall.
Psoriasis and stress go hand in hand. The National Psoriasis Foundation also reports that psoriasis is sometimes the body’s way of coping with stress - sending out false signals tricking your body into producing skin cells it doesn’t need. That’s why it’s critical you find ways to cope with stress when managing your psoriasis.
I love hot showers, but the hotter the water the more it dries out my skin. Hot water can be harsh on skin especially in the winter time when we’re already combating cold weather. Hot showers strip away natural oils the body produces - and with psoriasis, we need all the oil we can possibly receive. A nurse once suggested I take 5-10 minute lukewarm showers instead.
Cold weather is BRUTAL for psoriasis sufferers. I’ve spent 18 months in Michigan combating snow and below freezing temps. I remember dauntingly moisturizing 3-4 times a day, and it not being enough for my dry, flaky skin. Some people I know have moved to sunnier states to escape the cold, but while relocating may be a bit extreme, these other tips may bring relief.
Laundry with fragrance
I’ve been using fragrance-free detergent for the last 4 years, and I must say there is a difference in the itchiness of my skin. Detergent with fragrance can cause allergic reactions, hence triggering psoriasis. Although I still itch, it’s not as excessive as it used to be before I switched to scent-free.
The NPF reports that itching is one of the biggest complaints of psoriasis sufferers, with 70-90 percent experiencing this symptom. Sometimes we may scratch until the skin breaks and bleeds. Though scratching may feel good at the time, it can set you up for other infections and worsen your condition. At night I suggest wearing gloves so you won’t scratch in your sleep or harm skin.
Allergies aren’t just red eyes and sneezing. I found out that they can also affect your skin and possibly be a cause for your psoriasis. Allergens cause the immune system to overreact which can trigger or worsen psoriasis. Take an allergy test, and if anything shows up positive, try eliminating it to see if it improves your psoriasis.
When it’s cold outside the first thing we like to do is crank up the heat, but excessive heat can dry out the skin. If you are cold, try more blankets or comfortable layers, and place a humidifier in your room to keep the moisture in the air.