Preventing Psoriasis – Knowing Your Triggers

One of the most common chronic skin disorders is Psoriasis. It is characterized by having red, itchy and scaly patches that can be all over the body. They can sometimes be very painful. This autoimmune condition causes your skin layers and cells to grow at a more rapid rate and to build up on top of each other. Your body normally sheds your old skin layers and pushes out its new and fresher layers in about 28 to 30 days. When you have psoriasis, the newer ones are being pushed outside much sooner, between 3 to 4 days instead. This causes the skin layers to pile up on top of each other, forming the thick, red and scaly patches. These patches are also known as plaques, hence the name plaque psoriasis. However, psoriasis symptoms are not just limited to the skin – ribbed, uneven or dense nails and swollen joints are also in the list of common symptoms, but the symptoms can vary from person to person.

As it stands, there is no cure for psoriasis, but you can prevent the symptoms from flaring up. If you have psoriasis, make sure you know the triggers. These may be different from one person to the next so it’s also important to know the specific causes that can worsen flare-ups, and knowing them can also help you relieve them. Here are some of the common causes of flare-ups:

Infections – When you put pressure on your immune system, like when you are sick, it causes an inflammatory reaction. Getting a cold, a skin infection, or catching the flu can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. When you have psoriasis and you suspect that you may have infection, like when you get sick, seek treatment right away to lower the chances of flare-ups. When you get a skin infection like from a wound, make sure you clean it regularly and keep it covered. Practice ways to lower your chances of getting sick like washing your hands often, avoiding sharing your food/drinks/eating utensils, and staying away from sick people overall.

Stress – This can be a bit problematic for people who have psoriasis as stress can be a daily thing that almost everyone experiences. That means that if you suffer from psoriasis, you should do a better job of managing your stress, because when your body is stressed, your immune system goes on high alert, triggering an inflammatory reaction. Practice meditation, yoga, exercise regularly, and get sufficient sleep. These are just some physical ways to help reduce the effects of stress. You should also take some time to relax, unwind and do things that make you feel calm. Take up a hobby for instance. Not only will it be productive but also helps you manage your condition better.

Injuries to the Skin – Sunburns, insect bites, gashes, cuts and bruises. These can all be characterized as injuries to your skin. The Koebner Phenomenon is when skin injuries end up triggering psoriasis flare-ups. Think of it like a defensive mechanism that your skin activates in response to injury. That being said, when you go out in the sun, make sure to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen regularly. When working outside, make sure you protect your skin to avoid any cuts or bruises, and spray some bug repellent too to minimize getting bitten by insects.

Imbalanced Diet – There are some foods that promote inflammation and can make psoriasis symptoms worse. These include foods that are high in fats, dairy foods, red meat, and foods that are high in sugar. Instead of eating red meat, eat fish instead as they contain fats that are good for your body. Minimize dairy consumption or try alternatives like soy or almond-based milk products. Eat more green leafy vegetables too. Vitamins or supplements can also be a good idea if your dermatologist recommends it.

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