Home Remedies

What Can I Do to Control My Flare-Ups?

A key factor to treating any chronic condition is taking care of the health decisions that are under your control. That means eating well, getting regular exercise and reducing your stress. Taking care of these lifestyle choices can also help reduce your risk for some other health conditions that are associated with psoriasis, such as cardiovascular disease.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

There are a few things that you can do at home to help improve the appearance and feel of your damaged skin.

Take daily baths

Bathing daily helps remove scales and calm inflamed skin, especially if you add bath oil, colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts to the water and soak for at least 15 minutes. Make sure to avoid hot water and harsh soaps, which can worsen symptoms. Lukewarm water and mild soaps with added oils and fats can help soothe your skin.

Use moisturizer

Blot your skin, don’t rub, after bathing, and then immediately apply a heavy, ointment-based moisturizer while your skin is still moist. If you have very dry skin, oils may be more effective, as they prevent water from evaporating from your skin and don’t get rubbed off as easily. Keep in mind that if the weather is very cold and dry, you may need to apply a moisturizer several times a day.

Cover the affected areas overnight

One trick to help improve redness and scaling is to apply an ointment-based moisturizer to your skin and wrap with plastic wrap overnight. In the morning, you can remove the plastic wrap and wash away the scales with a bath or a shower.

Expose your skin to small amounts of sunlight

Sunlight, in small doses, can help improve your skin lesions. If you get too much sun, though, you can actually worsen your symptoms, not to mention increase the risk of skin cancer. If you choose to get some sun, keep it short for three or more times a week. It’s a good idea to keep track of when and how long you’re in the sun to help avoid overexposure. Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to healthy skin. Before beginning any sunbathing program, talk to your dermatologist about the best way to use natural sunlight to treat your skin.

Apply medicated cream or ointment

Over-the-counter creams or ointments that contain hydrocortisone or salicylic acid can help to reduce itching and scaling. If you have scalp psoriasis, you can try a medicated shampoo that contains coal tar. There are also lotions that can be applied to the scalp.

Avoid drinking alcohol

Alcohol consumption can decrease the effectiveness of some psoriasis treatments, and excessive alcohol consumption is a psoriasis trigger for some people.

Know your Triggers

To try to find out what triggers, if any, worsen your psoriasis, consider keeping a log to track your symptoms. If you do discover any of your personal triggers, take steps to prevent or avoid them.

Healthy Eating

Eating healthy is an essential part of anyone’s well-being, whether you have psoriasis or not. Because you are managing a chronic disease though, you should always discuss any changes in diet with your doctor. Discuss your medications with your doctor or pharmacist, as some foods can interact with your medications.

Tips for Eating Well

  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Prepare extra.
  • Eat regularly.
  • Watch your portion size.
  • Eat a colourful diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Think about how much salt you are eating, and choose a low-sodium diet.
  • Use sugar and salt in moderation; use other spices to add flavour to food.
  • Watch fat and cholesterol.
  • Plan out your meals.
  • Consider supplementing your diet with a multivitamin.

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Physical Activity

Physical activity is another lifestyle choice that is important for those with psoriasis and those without psoriasis. It’s also a great way to spend time with family and friends or to meet new friends!

Tips for Working Physical Activity into your Routine

Consult your Doctor

Before starting any exercise program, it is important to talk to your doctor to determine what exercise is appropriate for you.

Stretch Out

Including 15 minutes of flexibility exercises into your workout is a great idea. Once you can do 15 continuous minutes of flexibility exercises per workout, you should be able to add strengthening and aerobic exercises to your routine.

Build Muscles

Using weights or resistance helps muscles become stronger, and this can help reduce the stress on joints and protect them from injury.

Get into the Pool

Water exercises, from swimming to walking in the water, offer a way to build strength and flexibility without impact injuries. It’s also a good cardiovascular workout.

Walk it Off

Walking is an excellent form of exercise that just about everyone can participate in. If your feet, ankles or knees are affected by arthritis, talk to your doctor about using a walking aid or shoe inserts to avoid putting undue stress on your lower joints.

Find a Friend

Exercising in a group or with a friend can help you stick to your plan, as well as provide encouragement and support.

Have Fun!

An activity you enjoy will be one you stick with. Start slowly and build up to where you want to go so you don’t get burnt out or sidelined by injuries.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines